BC Fugitive Return Program tops 50 mark in two years of operation
Two years into the returning criminals back to face trial and the BC Fugitive Return Program shows now signs of slowing down.
Since September, 2011 the British Columbia Fugitive Return Program has sent 51 wanted fugitives back to other provinces on warrants for their arrests, often for violent offences such as Assaulting of a Peace Officer, Sexual Assault, Fraud, Drug Trafficking and Uttering threats.
For all British Columbians this marks a tremendous milestone. The BC Fugitive Return Program is directly responsible for removing 51 wanted fugitives from our province, many facing very serious allegations in other provinces, said Chuck McDonald, BC RCMP Major Crimes District Senior Investigative Officer.
These people are no longer walking through our communities, which directly contributes to community safety.
For a person to be a candidate to be removed from the province through the Fugitive Return program they need to be subject to a warrant for their arrest and there is no particular crime that they need to be charged with.
Fugitive returns are one of the key ways we support crime prevention with civil forfeiture proceeds, said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
The vast majority of civil forfeiture actions stem from a criminal investigation, so it’s fitting that we have used recovered funds to send 51 prolific and violent offenders back to the jurisdictions where they have outstanding warrants.
“B.C. Sheriff Services plays a key role in this program by funding sheriffs to escort these fugitives out of our province. All of this work helps keep our communities safe.
Managed by the RCMP and a joint management team consisting of the Vancouver Police Department and the RCMP, the BC Fugitive Return Program is funded by the Civil Forfeiture Office within the BC government.
Local police departments from across the province are able to recommend wanted fugitives for removal from the province. The program coordinators then work with the police force and province that issued the warrant to arrange their return.
The Fugitive Return Program sends a clear message to those wanted on arrest warrants that they cannot simply skip town to avoid being arrested, says Inspector Mike Cumberworth in charge of the Vancouver Police General Investigation Section.
The Program is a necessary and important component in holding offenders accountable for their actions and law enforcement partners in BC work together towards this common goal.
Since August, four people (individuals 48-51) were removed from the province. These include:
- On August 7, 2013 Christian TALBOT was escorted from Victoria to Whitehorse by the Yukon authorities. He had outstanding warrants for his arrest for three counts of assault, Theft, Mischief and Disturbing the Peace. TALBOT was identified as a candidate for the Fugitive Return Program by the Victoria Police Department.
- August 30, 2013, David LEWIS was transported to Toronto by the BC Sheriffs. LEWIS had outstanding warrants for his arrest from Toronto for two counts of Uttering Threats, two counts of Assault, and Mischief. LEWIS was identified as a candidate for the Fugitive Return Program by the Abbotsford Police Department.
- On September 4, 2013, Fernand HUOT was escorted back to Alberta by the Alberta authorities after having been arrested by the Kelowna RCMP. HUOT had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for Sexual Assault.
- On September 30, 2013, David BEAIRSTO was transported back to Edmonton by the Alberta authorities after having been arrested by Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit Gang Enforcement. BEAIRSTO had an outstanding warrant for his arrest from Edmonton for Possession for the Purposes of Trafficking.
The BC Fugitive Return Program will continue to return wanted fugitives out of British Columbia. Police will continue to hold criminals accountable for their actions, hoping to bring some closure to their victims and creating safer streets in British Columbia.
Police encourage the general public to contact Crimestoppers or your local police agency with information on individuals who are currently wanted.