Trio of men plead guilty to ‘Monolith’ drug charges

In the last week three more men have pleaded guilty to drug trafficking, making them the latest to prepare for jail following a massive RCMP drug investigation.

In the last week three more men have pleaded guilty to drug trafficking, making them the latest to prepare for jail following a massive RCMP drug investigation.

Jesse Ritchie, Asif Aslam and Matthew Truesdale all entered guilty pleas in Yukon territorial court this week – Ritchie on Monday and the other two on Tuesday.

All three were arrested as part of Project Monolith, an investigation the Yukon RCMP have called “one of the most significant organized crime investigations in the territory to date.”

The three men are scheduled to be sentenced in March.

According to documents filed with the court, in November 2013 Aslam and Truesdale, both from B.C., arranged to send 1.75 kilograms of cocaine to Yukon.

Arrangements to supply and ship the drugs was mostly done through text messages in which everyone involved would speak in code, the court heard.

The Whitehorse dealer picking up the shipment in Surrey to bring it to the territory was actually working as a police informant by that time.

His testimony and information has been central to all of the convictions that have come out of Monolith. His identity is protected under a publication ban because he is now part of the witness protection program.

One kilogram of cocaine has a wholesale value of between $74,000 and $77,000, the court heard. Its value goes up once it hits the streets.

Unlike the other two convicted this week, Ritchie was based out of Whitehorse. According to an agreed statement of facts filed in his case, the same informant told police he and Ritchie were the leaders of one group of Whitehorse dealers who were being supplied by Aslam and Truesdale.

Text messages between Richie and the informant show the pair making plans in August and September 2013 to ship marijuana and cocaine into the Yukon.

In late August, Ritchie told the informant to pick up one kilogram of cocaine waiting in a Whitehorse house. The informant turned the drugs over to the police.

Tests showed the drug was 60 per cent cocaine, the court heard.

In September of that year the informant picked up 44 pounds of marijuana and one kilogram of cocaine from Ritchie’s cabin in the Ibex area.

He left some of the payment in a dog food bag at the home.

Police also had photos of Ritchie retrieving $80,000 that had been buried in the woods off Grey Mountain Road.

He’d been told by the informant where to find the cash to help pay for the rest of the drugs.

These three men are just the latest to be convicted following Monolith.

Kuntoniah Graham of Whitehorse was convicted in early September following a trial of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

He has not been sentenced yet.

A fifth man, B.C.‘s Jason McMillan, was acquitted in September of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

A judge ruled there wasn’t enough proof he had ever possessed the drugs in the Yukon.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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