Anabolic steroids from China that were imported by individuals in B.C. several years ago and later seized by Canada Border Services Agency officers. (CBSA)

Appeal court overturns firearm ban for Fraser Valley man accused in steroid smuggling ring

Weapons prohibitions should have never been ordered since shotgun seized was not linked to accused

A Fraser Valley man alleged to have been involved in an anabolic steroid import ring who was accused of unsafe storage of firearms had his five-year firearm ban overturned by the B.C. Court of Appeal in Chilliwack on Friday.

The court ruled that provincial court Judge Steven Point erred in connecting Brian McEathron to a shotgun found underneath a bed in a marijuana grow operation in Mission when it was raided by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers four years ago.

It was in March of 2014 that CBSA officials first noticed multiple shipments containing anabolic steroids and other import controlled substances awaiting customs clearance at Vancouver International Airport.

• READ MORE: Three arrested in lengthy probe of alleged steroid smuggling ring in B.C.

After an investigation lasting several months, CBSA officers executed search warrants at a number of homes. In all, the CBSA said in a press release they seized 33 kilograms of powdered anabolic steroids and prescription drugs, along with 22 litres of liquid steroids and 1,800 capsules, including more than 300 fentanyl pills.

Arrested were Matthew Anderson of Maple Ridge, Kailea Ridsdale of Pitt Meadows and Brian McEathron of Mission. They were charged with smuggling and possession of unlawfully imported goods under the Customs Act, and importation and possession for the purpose of trafficking under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

As part of the investigation, a search warrant was executed at a house in the 30400-block of Keeves Place in Mission. McEathron was charged with the firearms offence in connection with a shotgun found in that house that was also being used to grow cannabis. There was a medical growing licence attached to the address.

In Abbotsford Provincial Court on Sept. 28, 2016, Judge Point ordered a five-year weapons prohibtion against McEathron.

But in the Court of Appeal on July 12, 2019, defence lawyer Chris Terepocki said no evidence was presented in court to prove the gun belong to McEathron. In fact, there was no evidence that the room was his bedroom nor even that he was directly connected to the house.

“Essentially there was a finding that it was Mr. McEathron’s house and [the gun] was stored on his side of the bed,” Terepocki told the court. “It simply wasn’t borne out by the evidence.”

While Judge Point ruled that a reasonable person could have concluded the shotgun was ready to use to protect his grow-op, Terepocki called that an “improper finding.”

“There was no evidence of him residing at the house or in that room.”

Crown counsel Rob McGowan told the court that his office did not disagree with the appellant’s claims and did not oppose the appeal.

McGowan agreed an error was made and the appeal ought to be allowed.

And while McEathron had already served half of the five-year weapons prohibition, the Justice agreed with the submission from Crown and defence and the appeal was allowed.

• RELATED: Drugs, drone, cellphones seized from outside Kent Institution


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

International film series returns to Chilliwack this fall

The Chilliwack International Fall Film Series at Cottonwood 4 Cinemas runs Oct. 2 to Nov. 6

Grand opening of Molson Coors Fraser Valley Brewery at Chilliwack cause for celebration

Ribbon-cutting with dignitaries, Molson brass and family marked the official grand opening

Two more on witness stand accuse former Chilliwack youth leader of sexual touching

BC Supreme Court justice rules similar fact evidence allowed in trial of Codie Anderson

East Coast comedian Ron James bringing ‘Full Throttle Tour’ to Chilliwack Cultural Centre

James is at work on the first draft of his first book, ‘All Over the Map’

Multiple accidents on Highway 1 slowing morning commutes

One accident just past 232 Street in Langley, second is just East of Bradner Street in Abbotsford

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Vancouver police could be using drones to fight crime by end of year

The police department has already purchased three drones, as well as three others for training

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

B.C. cabinet minister denies that Surrey mayor’s friend attended government meeting

Surrey councillor questions Vancouver businessman Bob Cheema’s involvement in official meeting

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Most Read