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Drug charges stayed for PoMo man
Charges have been stayed against a Port Moody man who allegedly imported a large amount of opium in the fall of 2009.
Earlier this week, the court issued a stay of proceedings, which is used when there is either insufficient evidence to proceed or if the prosecution is no longer deemed to be in the public interest.
A spokesperson for the federal prosecution service said the reasons for not pursuing a case are never disclosed.
"We are disappointed by this decision in one of our major cases," said Port Moody Police Department Insp. Andy Richards. "We recognize this decision is a reflection of unfortunate pressures in our court system, which are being experienced throughout the province."
In August 2009, PMPD were informed by the Canadian Border Services Agency that a bulk quantity of opium was being shipped in the lining of a suitcase to a PoMo address from Istanbul, Turkey.
PMPD investigators from the major crime section, together with other municipal and federal agencies, initiated an extensive investigation. The package was allowed to reach its apparent target and on Sept. 5, 2009, Azad Yousefi was arrested in Burnaby.
Officers who testified at his trial in B.C. Provincial Court in Port Coquitlam this week testified they were watching Yousefi for several days before his arrest.
They observed him making stops at an apartment in Burnaby, as well as in Port Moody at 101 Morrissey Rd. Yousefi was also seen stopping at the 7-11 on St. Johns Street, including on Sept. 5, when he was spotted leaving with a large box picked up from the postal outlet in the convenience store.
When Yousefi was arrested, officers seized more than 11 lb. (5.3 kg) of opium, which at the time was worth about $500,000 on the street. It was the largest seizure in the city's history and was expected to have a "significant impact" on the opium distribution in the Lower Mainland and across Canada, according to the PMPD.
Yousefi pleaded not guilty to charges of importing a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking at the start of his trial in October 2011.