A Richmond man will serve a seven-year jail sentence for drug trafficking after a Vancouver police investigation led to the seizure of a large amount of fentanyl and heroin at an East Van home being used to stash the drugs.
Raymon Singh Ranu, 32, was found guilty of eight counts of trafficking fentanyl and heroin and three counts of possession of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking.
Vancouver police started investigating the activities of Ranu and several other men in October 2014. According to court documents, investigators suspected a home in the 3600-block of East 27th Avenue was being used to process and store drugs. Sales of the drugs were then carried out in a taxi.
The home was put under surveillance and an undercover officer, posing as a worker from the Northwest Territories who was coming to Vancouver to buy heroin and fentanyl to sell up north, made contact with Ranu.
The undercover officer bought a substantial quantity of drugs from Ranu on five different occasions between Dec. 18, 2014 and Feb. 4, 2015.
In total, the undercover officer testified, he purchased more than 5,000 pills and three ounces of heroin from Ranu, and on Feb. 12 he started discussions with Ranu to purchase 5,000 pills and an once of heroin.
Three days later, on Feb. 15, 2015, police executed a search warrant at the East 27th Avenue home and found more than two kilograms of heroin, 113 grams of heroin mixed with alprazolam, more than seven kilograms of cocaine and 1.5 kilograms of fentanyl pills (estimated to be between 4,560 and 5,000 pills) with a total value estimated at more than $1 million.
On the same day, officers also executed a search warrant at a home on Tomicki Avenue in Richmond and found $2,400 in marked bills that were used by the undercover officer to purchase drugs from Ranu, a key for the East 27th Avenue home and six bundles of cash totalling more than $17,000.
Ranu was arrested Feb. 17, 2015.
The officer testified that Ranu also recommended purchasing lower quality heroin to encourage people to switch to the stronger fentanyl pills. During one transaction, when the officer asked Ranu for advice on dealing with the cash from the drug sales, “Mr. Ranu advised him to launder the money through casinos,” Judge Nancy Phillips said in her reasons for sentencing.
Ranu also told the officer that “black fentanyl” was a new, more powerful form of the drug.
“Mr. Ranu knew how powerful fentanyl was and he actively encouraged the undercover officer to get his customers to switch from heroin to fentanyl for monetary reasons,” she said in handing down the sentence. “He preyed on persons who are dependent on drugs with the social cost and human suffering that conduct entails.”
The judge said the amount of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl found showed Ranu was not just dealing drugs at a street level.
“The quantity of the drugs involved show Mr. Ranu was not a low-level drug distributor. Mr. Ranu made clear to the undercover officer that he was not his only fentanyl customer and he spoke of another client who bought batches of 10,000 pills from him.”
Phillips went on to say the 7.87 kilograms of cocaine and more than two kilograms of heroin at the stash house “show he was also involved in other drugs in considerable quantities.”
Ranu was seen as the prime negotiator with the undercover officer in the fentanyl and heroin sales, the judge said, and appeared to be directing other men to hand the drugs to the officer in an attempt to “shield himself.”
The judge also noted that Ranu had a taxi on hand for his use and had a large sum of money at his home in Richmond.
“These things are demonstrative of a level of success in the drug trade,” she said. “He made clear he knew how to launder the proceeds of crime in casinos, another matter of concern to the community… Mr. Ranu’s conduct in this case was motivated by monetary gain… he is not a drug addict,” the judge said, adding, “Mr. Ranu was observed regularly in the DTES a place where the use of drugs is notorious.”
In handing down the her sentence, the judge took into account the fact that while out on bail over the last four years Ranu has tried to “live a law-abiding life.” He has worked as a cook at an Aldergrove Chinese restaurant since 2015, is married and has a three-year-old son.
“Mr. Ranu submits that his son has made a big difference in his life and he is now a settled family man who is motivated to serve his jail sentence and be reunited with his family afterward,” the judge said.
She also noted Ranu’s childhood was impacted by his parents’ divorce. Raised by a single mother, he was often left alone while she worked. He attended three elementary schools and multiple high schools, which negatively impacted his ability to make and keep friends.
He served a previous four-month jail sentence after pleading guilty in September 2007 to trafficking cocaine in a dial-a-dope case.