Larue jury hears how undercover net closed in

It took a team of professional undercover RCMP officers with years of training in deceit and subterfuge to snare alleged murderer Norman Larue and his former fiancee Christina Asp, jurors heard on Tuesday.

It took a team of professional undercover RCMP officers with years of training in deceit and subterfuge to snare alleged murderer Norman Larue and his former fiancee Christina Asp, jurors heard on Tuesday.

Larue is currently on trial for the 2008 beating and arson death of Ibex Valley resident Gordon Seybold. Asp, his fiancee at the time, was convicted for her role in the killing last year.

Yesterday the court heard a blow-by-blow account of the intricate ‘Mrs. Big’ operation that ultimately netted the couple, stretching from the undercover officers’ first “cold approach” meeting with Asp in February 2009 to the tactical team arrests almost six months later.

Two of the undercover RCMP officers who ran the elaborate operation took the witness stand to explain how it all came about. The identities of all the undercover officers involved are protected by a publication ban.

During the Crown’s examination, both officers separately described how a cast of undercover primary, secondary and cameo players created Project Monsoon, which originally started with only Asp as the target.

The project started in February 2009 with two officers meeting Asp in a strip mall food court in Calgary, Alberta, and telling her they needed help with a job. The officers implied they were working for an organization that did private investigations.

Asp agreed, and helped take pictures at a bar of a third officer who she was told was cheating on his spouse. She was then given an envelope with the photos, which she delivered to the undercover officer along with the message “D-Day is coming.”

“She was laughing about how scared he was,” said the primary officer, who spent the most time with Asp.

After she successfully completed that first job, the operatives of Project Monsoon began raising the stakes. The primary worked to get close to Asp and gain her trust.

The primary took Asp on a road trip in a Cadillac to Prince Albert, Sask., to pick up an officer who was supposedly being released from prison for manslaughter. They picked him up outside the jail itself.

She also drove to Lethbridge, Alta., with Asp and a third officer, letting Asp believe they were smuggling handguns through the U.S.-Canada border, and even showing Asp a box full of real-looking but functionally useless weapons.

As the layers of the fake crime family were slowly peeled back, the primary officer eventually confided in Asp that she had killed someone and the man they had picked up in Prince Albert had taken the fall for her.

Asp apparently replied that the two had more in common that the primary thought, according to the testimony of both the primary officer assigned to her, and the cover officer who oversaw the entire operation. Asp told them she had a secret with Norman Larue and someone had ended up dead, the primary officer testified.

Eventually, as Asp rose through the fake criminal family, the officers led her to a meeting with the vaunted Mrs. Big, the first female “crime boss” figure used in an operation like this in Canada.

In an interview with the crime boss, Asp apparently told of killing Seybold and the crime family offered to help her cover her tracks, according to the officers’ testimony.

In early March 2009, the entire Project Monsoon travelled to the Yukon, for what the cover officer described as a “re-enactment” of the crime, where Asp was to walk them through what happened at the scene and the officers, unbeknownst to Asp, would collect evidence.

However, that didn’t happen because there was too much snow at the site of Larue’s burned cabin, and a decision was made to slow the project down until Larue was released from prison in August where he was serving time for another crime. The hope was that he could also be brought into the web, the cover officer testified.

When Larue was released, the officers used Asp to facilitate a meeting between Larue and one of the fake crime family members posing as a mercenary who needed help with extra muscle and setting up a mercenary website. They offered the job to Larue, and tape-recorded a conversation where he too talked about killing Seybold.

But for all the RCMP’s cloak and dagger tricks, Asp and Larue may simply have been even better liars, defence lawyer Ray Dieno argued during cross-examination.

“Maybe Christina Asp is a better liar than you are? Maybe everything she is saying is not at all what she’s thinking,” Dieno charged.

Dieno also questioned using what he called “inducements,” including numerous expensive restaurant dinners and a necklace and $100 jacket that officers bought for Asp. Asp was also paid for her work with the fake crime family, earning $300 for the gun-running job, and having the family pay for her Calgary apartment and living expenses.

It could make sense, Dieno argued, that Asp and Larue were simply telling the undercover officers whatever they wanted to hear to preserve their chances of working with the criminal family and benefitting from what seemed like a high-class lifestyle.

Dieno said he wondered how the cover officer could know what Asp was thinking.

“You’re not a mind reader. How can you give testimony about what someone else was thinking? You know better than that,” Dieno said.

“No, sir I am not a mind reader,” the cover officer conceded, but added that the admissions Asp made were all voluntary, and only came after months of work to develop a trusting relationship between her and the undercover cops.

Christina Asp herself was called as a witness two weeks ago but refused to testify. Instead, the judge decided the jury will hear tapes of her testimony from her own trial last year when Larue’s trial resumes today.

Such evidence is usually considered inadmissible, but the judge made the exception in light of Asp’s refusal to co-operate.

Contact Jesse Winter at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Eric Schroff, executive director with the Yukon Fish and Game Association, poses for a portrait on Feb. 20. Schroff says he is puzzled as to why the Yukon government is cutting back on funding for the association. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
YG cuts Yukon Fish and Game Association funding, tried to vet outgoing communications

Yukon Fish and Game Association says 25 per cent government funding cut will impact operations


Wyatt’s World for Nov. 27, 2020

Premier Sandy Silver during a live update on the COVID-19 situation at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 27. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Total Yukon COVID case count increased to 42 cases

Premier urges patience after national meeting on vaccine roll-out

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Most Read