Kamloops gangster who controlled fentanyl market gets a decade in prison

Erwin Dagle is a high-ranking member of the Red Scorpions gang

  • Feb. 26, 2019 1:23 p.m.

—Kamloops this Week

A Kamloops gangster believed to have been controlling the majority of the city’s fentanyl supply in 2017 has been sentenced to a decade in a federal prison.

Erwin Dagle, a high-ranking member of the Red Scorpions gang in Kamloops, was sentenced on Tuesday to spend 10 years behind bars after pleading guilty in B.C. Supreme Court.

The 24-year-old was arrested twice in a five-month span in 2017 in connection with large seizures of and drugs and cash.

Federal Crown prosecutor Anthony Varesi said a March 30, 2017, bust at Dagle’s Sun Rivers home turned up an assortment of hard drugs, including fentanyl and carfentanil, with an estimated street value of $250,000.

An Aug. 24, 2017, raid at a Columbia Street motel where Dagle had been arrested while leaving moments earlier resulted in the seizure of about $176,000 worth of drugs.

READ MORE: Red Scorpion associates cuffed in drug-trafficking bust

Police also seized more than $20,000 in cash.

“These are extremely serious offences,” Varesi said. “It’s quite possible that the majority of fentanyl in the city was coming from Mr. Dagle’s residence and the hotel room.”

Varesi told court that police in Kamloops became aware about Red Scorpions involved in the local drug trade in October 2016 and Dagle soon popped up on the radar of investigators.

By January 2017, Varesi said, Dagle had “assumed more responsibilities” within the gang.

The Sun Rivers bust turned up 1.3 kilograms of cocaine, 717 grams of meth, 448 grams of fentanyl and 56 grams of a mixture of heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil. Police also seized more than $5,600 in cash, two scales, a replica gun and packaging materials.

READ MORE: Arrest made in Kamloops murder case

The motel raid resulted in the seizure of 1,040 grams of cocaine, 458 grams of meth, 238 grams of a mixture of fentanyl and heroin and 167 grams of fentanyl. Police also found more than 32 grams of fentanyl and $16,000 cash in a backpack Dagle was carrying.

Defence lawyer John Gustafson said Dagle was born in the Philippines and grew up mainly in Calgary.

“He will be effectively giving up the rest of his 20s and early 30s,” Gustafson said. “That said, he will have vocational training available to him [in federal prison] and his young years do bode well for his future success in the community.”

When asked during sentencing, Dagle told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Nitya Iyer he had nothing to say.

In addition to prison time, Dagle will be bound by a 10-year firearms prohibition once his sentence concludes. He was also ordered to submit a sample of his DNA to a national criminal database.

After being given credit for time served, Dagle has nearly nine years remaining on his sentence.

Dagle is believed to have been working closely with Konaam Shirzad before Shirzad was shot to death outside his Guerin Creek home on Sept. 21, 2017.

Shirzad was one of the founders of the Red Scorpions, the gang behind the 2007 Surrey Six slaying in which six people were executed in a high-rise condo unit — including two innocent passersby.

Prior to his death, Shirzad owned a North Kamloops gym. Dagle was spotted by police delivering a suitcase to a vehicle at Shirzad’s gym moments before his arrest in March 2017.

No arrests have been made in connection with Shirzad’s murder, though police say they have identified suspects.

Alleged Red Scorpions associate Nathan Townsend sat in the courtroom gallery on Tuesday at Dagle’s sentencing hearing.

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