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RCMP in Northwest Territories believe suspect in deadly crash may be in Edmonton

A man wanted by police in connection with a deadly crash in the Northwest Territories last month may be in the Edmonton area, according to police.

In a news release issued Monday, Behchoko RCMP said an arrest warrant has been issued for 44-year-old Steven Theriault after he allegedly left the scene of a fatal, single-vehicle crash on April 22.

“The collision claimed the life of a female passenger and injured two others,” police said. “Drugs and alcohol may have contributed to the collision.

“Theriault is believed to be the driver of the vehicle.”

RCMP said they believe if he is not in the Northwest Territories, Theriault may be in Edmonton or somewhere in northern Alberta.

He is five-foot-eight and 230 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information about Theriault’s whereabouts is asked to call the Behchoko RCMP detachment at 1-867-392-1111.

Anonymous tips can also be submitted by phoning Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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Hong Kong's security, police chiefs warn of growing 'terrorism' as national laws loom

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s security and police chiefs said “terrorism” was growing in the city, as government departments rallied on Monday behind Beijing’s plans to introduce national security laws after thousands took to the streets to protest against the move.

The security legislation, which could see Chinese intelligence agencies set up bases in Hong Kong and aims to tackle secession, subversion and terrorist activities, has sent shockwaves through the business and diplomatic communities.

“Terrorism is growing in the city and activities which harm national security, such as ‘Hong Kong independence’, become more rampant,” Secretary for Security John Lee said in a statement.

“In just a few months, Hong Kong has changed from one of the safest cities in the world to a city shrouded in the shadow of violence,” he said, adding national security laws were needed to safeguard the city’s prosperity and stability.

Police said they arrested more than 180 people on Sunday, when authorities fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse anti-government protesters as unrest returned to the Chinese-ruled city after months of relative calm.

Police Commissioner Chris Tang said there have been 14 cases involving explosives “commonly used in terrorist attacks overseas” and five seizures of firearms and ammunition since protests began in June last year.

The draft legislation “will help combat the force of ‘Hong Kong independence’ and restore social order. Police fully support it,” Tang said.

In a return of the unrest that roiled Hong Kong last year, crowds thronged the streets of the city on Sunday in defiance of curbs imposed to contain the coronavirus, with chants of “Hong Kong independence, the only way out,” echoing through the streets.

Calls for independence are anathema to Beijing, which considers Hong Kong an inalienable part of the country. The proposed new national security framework stresses Beijing’s intent “to prevent, stop and punish” such acts.

Protests are expected to resume on Wednesday, when the city’s legislature is expected to give a second reading of a bill that would criminalise abuse of China’s national anthem.

Agencies issuing statements in support of the legislation included the Commissioner of Correctional Services, Hong Kong Customs, the Fire Department and the Government Flying Service.

“MISUNDERSTANDING”

Financial Secretary Paul Chan wrote on his blog on Sunday the national security law “itself” does not affect investor confidence, only the “misunderstanding” of it does.

“The central government has already said the law is targeted at the minority of people who are suspected of threatening national security and will not affect the rights of the general public.”

The United States, Australia, Britain, Canada and others have expressed concerns about the legislation, widely seen as a potential turning point for China’s freest city and one of the world’s leading financial hubs.

Taiwan, which has become a refuge for a small but growing number of pro-democracy protesters fleeing Hong Kong, will provide the people of Hong Kong with “necessary assistance”, President Tsai Ing-wen said.

Nearly 200 political figures from around the world decried the legislation. Bankers and headhunters said the legislation could lead to money and talent leaving the city.

Hong Kong’s bourse added a 1% fall to the 5.6% plunge on Friday when the new security plan was unveiled by Beijing and the Hong Kong dollar hovered around its lowest since March.

In a statement late on Sunday, a Hong Kong government spokesperson said the vast majority of residents and overseas investors “have nothing to fear” from the new security legislation and hit back at criticism from abroad.

“Sadly, and perhaps tellingly, those who claim to be acting in Hong Kong’s best interests turn a blind eye to the explosives, petrol bombs, firearms, weapons, attacks on bystanders, wanton vandalism, online trolling and disinformation campaigns used by radical protesters and their hidden handlers to stoke fear and chaos and destabilise society,” it said.

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Parole revoked for man who sold guns to killer Dellen Millard

The man who peddled guns to a notorious triple killer had his parole revoked last month for allegedly trafficking women and drugs.

Matthew Ward-Jackson sold three guns to Dellen Millard in 2012. Millard used the weapons in the murders of his father, his former lover and a complete stranger.

A judge sentenced Ward-Jackson, who was also convicted of possessing a loaded AK-47, to 11 years behind bars. He was given credit for time served and in January 2019, the Parole Board of Canada granted him day parole.

The board said in its recent decision that Ward-Jackson had improved while living in the community, finding work at a jewelry store.

“The Correctional Service of Canada was willing to support you for full parole and submitted this to the Board,” the board wrote to Ward-Jackson in its decision.

But at a meeting with his parole officer on Jan 10, 2020, Ward-Jackson handed over his phone for review.

“While reviewing text messages, your (parole officer) read messages suggesting you were involved in drug trafficking,” the board wrote.

“Another text message referenced a kidnapping which you claimed was a lie you told the contact to deter the person from wanting to stay at your residence. Upon further review of your phone, your (parole officer) felt you may also be engaged in the trafficking of women, travelling outside your travel boundary and associating with negative others.”

Ward-Jackson’s parole was suspended and he was arrested by police, the board said.

“It is the board’s opinion that you will present an undue risk to society if released on day parole,” the parole board said.

Ward-Jackson’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Ward-Jackson testified at Millard’s murder trial for the death of his father, Wayne Millard, 71, who ran a multi-million dollar aviation company.

He said he sold Millard a .32-calibre Smith and Wesson revolver that was later found next to Wayne Millard’s body in late November 2012. Wayne Millard died from a bullet shot through his left eye and into his brain.

Wayne Millard’s death was initially ruled a suicide. Toronto police later charged Dellen Millard with first-degree murder and a judge convicted him on that count in 2018.

Court heard Ward-Jackson sold that gun to Millard the day before Laura Babcock, Millard’s former girlfriend, vanished. A jury agreed with the Crown that Millard and his friend, Mark Smich, used that gun to kill Babcock. The pair later burned her body in Millard’s mobile incinerator.

Ward-Jackson also sold Millard the gun that was used in the murder of Hamilton man Tim Bosma.

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Drug- and gun-trafficking ring in Toronto area dismantled, police say

VAUGHAN, Ont. – A unique crowbar allegedly used in a violent home invasion north of Toronto led to the dismantling of a drug- and gun-trafficking ring, police said Friday.

In total, 17 men and women were arrested and face a slew of charges including numerous counts of drug- and firearm-trafficking offences and robbery, York regional police said.

Police said they seized 15 guns along with cocaine, fentanyl, oxycontin and cash.

Det. Jason Boulay said the home invasion on Oct. 17, 2019, in Vaughan, Ont., sparked the probe – dubbed Project Stanley, as a reference to the crowbar manufacturer.

“It was about 2:30 in the morning when four armed suspects force their way into the residence,” Boulay said in a video statement.

“All the adults in the house were tied up – zip-tied – and forced down on the floor where demands were made for money and other personal belongings.”

A 26-year-old man was injured in the alleged assault.

In March, the force released a video of the alleged invasion to the public. The footage appears to show armed suspects walk up the stairs of a home and beat a victim.

“The crowbar that was seen in the video of the home invasion was identified as being unique and only sold at one retailer,” police said.

Boulay said the Stanley crowbar was sold at a Home Depot.

“Video surveillance was obtained through Home Depot and we were able to identify persons associated to that purchase of the tools that were used in the home invasion,” he said.

From late March to mid-May, York police and seven other forces began raiding homes throughout the Toronto area and in Sudbury, Ont., as they executed search warrants.

“This was a complex investigation,” said Insp. Ryan Hogan, adding that it involved numerous units within the force that worked around the clock for months.

He said the investigators “in one instance prevented an armed robbery.”

 

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Peel police search for suspects in Brampton elementary school arson

BRAMPTON, Ont. – Police are looking for suspects accused of starting a fire at an elementary school in Brampton, Ont., and causing millions of dollars in damage.

Peel regional police say they were called to St. Leonard Elementary School on Saturday evening, and found that the school office had been set ablaze.

They say firefighters were able to extinguish the flames quickly and nobody was injured, but the damage was significant.

Investigators say the suspect or suspects went to different areas in the school, damaging classrooms, electrical systems and “other important areas.”

Firefighters say the suspect then set multiple fires in the office area.

Police say it’s estimated the damage will take 12 to 18 months to repair at a cost of as much as $8 million.

Investigators are asking anyone who may have surveillance or dashcam footage of the area to get in touch.

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Sierra Leone's president accuses main opposition party of inciting violence

FREETOWN (Reuters) – Sierra Leone’s president Julius Maada Bio has accused the main opposition party of orchestrating a spate of violent incidents, deepening a political standoff that risks undermining the country’s efforts to contain a coronavirus outbreak.

At least 18 people have died in three riots in separate parts of the country in recent weeks, including a disturbance at Freetown’s central prison on April 29 which started after an inmate tested positive for the virus.

In a televised address, Bio claimed members of the All People’s Congress (APC) party were behind the violence.

“These attacks are therefore premeditated, orchestrated, and executed with a clear objective – to make the state ungovernable,” he said in the unscheduled broadcast on Friday.

The APC has denied the accusations. “It is shocking, the claims the president is making,” party spokesman Sidi Yayah Tunis said.

Last week, the United Nations called on the authorities and all political parties to work together to avoid distracting from the fight against the virus, which has so far infected 291 people and killed 17.

Since then, two prominent opposition members have been detained without charge. Amnesty International and local rights groups have called for their immediate release.

Without referring to specific incidents, Bio said any recent arrests were not politically motivated, but linked to investigations into the violence. The authorities will take further steps to protect security and rule of law, he said, without giving further details.

As part of the country’s response to the health crisis, courts have been closed and those considered to be serious offenders can be held without bail, the chief justice ruled last month.

The APC and Bio’s Sierra Leone People’s Party are long-time foes. After beating an APC candidate to the presidency in 2018, Bio launched a crackdown on alleged graft that has resulted in several former APC ministers being imprisoned.

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Venezuela's top prosecutor requests extradition of U.S. veteran accused in plot

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s Chief Prosecutor Tarek Saab said on Friday his office had requested the detention and extradition of U.S. military veteran Jordan Goudreau and two Venezuelans accused of involvement in a failed armed incursion earlier this week.

Saab said Goudreau and the two opposition Venezuelan politicians, Miami-based political strategist Juan Rendon and exiled lawmaker Sergio Vergara, for involvement in the “design financing, and execution” of the plan to invade and overthrow socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Goudreau, chief executive of Florida-based security company Silvercorp USA, has claimed responsibility for the plan, which left eight people dead and more than a dozen in custody, including two U.S. citizens accompanying the dissident Venezuelan security forces.

Rendon has said that while he negotiated an agreement with Silvercorp late last year, he cut ties with Goudreau in November and that Goudreau went forward with the failed operation on his own. Vergara did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Pro-Beijing lawmakers, democrats clash in Hong Kong legislature

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Rival lawmakers scuffled in Hong Kong’s legislature on Friday in a row over electing the chairman of a key committee, a fresh sign of rising political tension as the coronavirus pandemic tapers off in the Chinese-ruled city.

Lawmakers shouted and pushed one another at the legislative council meeting. Pro-Beijing lawmakers scuffled with pro-democracy lawmakers, several clashing with guards seeking to eject a pro-Beijing lawmaker who attempted to chair the meeting in a move that democrats said violated procedure.

Beijing has accused the former British colony’s pro-democracy lawmakers of “malicious” filibustering to prevent some proposed bills from going to a final vote.

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U.S. reaches settlement to recover over $49 million involving Malaysia's 1MDB: DOJ

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – The United States has reached a settlement to recover more than $49 million involving Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, the Department of Justice said.

The government of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak set up the 1MDB fund in 2009. The Justice Department has estimated more than $4.5 billion was siphoned out of Malaysia by high-level fund officials and their associates between 2009 and 2014 in a scandal that has also embroiled Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N).

The DOJ said in a statement dated May 6 it has settled its civil forfeiture cases against assets acquired by the former managing director of Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), Khadem al-Qubaisi, using funds allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB and laundered through financial institutions in several jurisdictions, including the United States, Switzerland, Singapore and Luxembourg.

IPIC had guaranteed bonds for 1MDB in 2012, arranged by Goldman. Al-Qubaisi is reported to have been sentenced to prison for 15 years in 2019.

With this and prior related forfeiture cases, the United States will have recovered or assisted in the recovery of nearly $1.1 billion in assets associated with 1MDB, representing the largest civil forfeiture ever concluded by the agency, the DOJ said.

The Atlantic Property Trust, which oversees the assets at issue in these forfeiture actions, has agreed to forfeit all assets subject to pending forfeiture complaints in which they have a potential interest.

The trustee, who is the wife of al-Qubaisi, is also required to cooperate and assist the Justice Department in the orderly transfer, management and disposition of the relevant assets, the DOJ said.

Efforts to contact the Trust were not immediately successful.

The assets subject to the settlement agreement include the sale proceeds of high-end real estate in Beverly Hills as well as a luxury penthouse in New York City that al-Qubaisi allegedly acquired with funds traceable to misappropriated 1MDB monies, the agency said.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the agency’s Criminal Division said the settlement “sends a clear signal that the Department of Justice is committed to tracing, seizing, and forfeiting criminal proceeds that are laundered through the U.S. financial system.”

The DOJ said several related civil forfeiture complaints remain pending against assets associated with other alleged co-conspirators.

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Mexico urges U.S. to probe of 'all' officials with ties to ex-minister

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s president on Monday urged Washington to investigate “all” officials, including members of elite U.S. law enforcement agencies, with ties to a former Mexican security minister accused of taking bribes from a top drug gang.

The arrest of ex-Security Minister Genaro Garcia Luna in Dallas late last year sent shockwaves across Mexico, where he had spearheaded a militarized assault on powerful drug gangs beginning under former President Felipe Calderon in 2006.

Garcia Luna was subsequently indicted on charges of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel, the gang once led by drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Speaking at his regular morning news conference, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called for a wide-ranging inquiry, suggesting that such an investigation could uncover wrongdoing by more than just one official.

“The U.S. government, now that it has begun an investigation, should delve deeper and also investigate officials” with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Lopez Obrador said.

The investigation should cover “all those who intervened during this period, because without a doubt, there was cooperation,” the president added.

Lopez Obrador suggested that an inquiry could uncover “criminal association” among officials from both governments.

His call was prompted by a question about comments by former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson to Mexican magazine Proceso published at the weekend in which she suggested both governments knew about possible corruption by Garcia Luna.

“The information we obtained – in the State Department – was drawn from U.S. officials, but it came from Mexicans, they were the ones who received and had most information about Garcia Luna’s corruption,” Proceso quoted her as saying.

Jacobson afterwards clarified on Twitter that she had never seen any “corroborated” evidence of Garcia Luna’s involvement in drug trafficking and that “in an environment of many rumors, one is always cautious about working with officials.”

A former FBI official in Mexico and an ex-CIA official both worked at a security company run by Garcia Luna until 2018.

Earlier this year, a U.S. judge signaled that the drug corruption trial of the former minister will likely be prolonged due to its “complex” nature.

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