Five years after he was accused of smuggling hundreds of kilos of cocaine into B.C., a fugitive linked to the United Nations gang remains at large.
Khamla Wong, also known as Khamla Siharaj, was charged on Aug. 31, 2012 after a lengthy investigation by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.
And while two of his co-accused in the case were sentenced to lengthy prison terms in B.C. Supreme Court last week, Wong has eluded capture, Staff Sgt. Lindsey Houghton confirmed Tuesday.
Houghton said Wong, 45, is believed to be in Asia or Europe. “His nexus to gangs and gang violence is a very real one. It’s only a matter of time before we catch up with him, or his enemies do,” Houghton said.
Wong was living in Abbotsford before he disappeared. At one time he owned a restaurant that was frequented by UN gang members in the Fraser Valley city. Wong faces one count of conspiracy to traffic 121 kilograms of cocaine, another count of conspiracy to import 97 kilograms of cocaine and one count of possession of a firearm.
Houghton said he was born Khamla Siharaj in Laos, before immigrating to Canada and legally changing his name to Wong. “Wong became a Canadian citizen, but as a result of this outstanding Canada-wide arrest warrant and the Interpol Blue Notice, Passport Canada revoked his Canadian passport,” Houghton said. “It is unknown what documentation he travels under.”
His wife travels under an Australian passport and has used the names Michelle Chan, Sabrina Chan and Sabrina Wong, Houghton said.
“Wong speaks many Asian languages, along with English. He has already changed his name at least once, as has his wife, and this, along with his language skills, is likely making his ability to move around Asia — where we believe he has spent much of his time — and escape the police much easier,” Houghton said.
“Wong is extremely savvy to police techniques and counter-surveillance but we believe that he has also made many enemies in the criminal world. We believe that he is, wherever he is, mostly likely armed and is considered very dangerous.” He has at least two small children born in Canada, Houghton added.
Last week, Jeremy Albert Stark was sentenced to 13 years and Christopher Lloyd Mehan to 10 years for their roles in the international drug ring. Justice Ian Bruce Josephson said both men were cocaine importers “at the wholesale level” with connections to buyers like Wong.
The B.C. men were snared in the investigation that was started by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Los Angeles in 2008.
The DEA used a confidential informant to distribute encrypted BlackBerry devices to members of the drug gang in both Canada and the U.S., including Stark, Mehan and Wong. The BlackBerrys used a server that was inside a DEA office, allowing agents to read all the messages about drug deliveries and money drop-offs.
U.S. agents sent information to CFSEU, which began its own investigation.
The coordinated effort led to 218 kilograms of cocaine being seized in two large shipments smuggled through the Pacific border crossing inside commercial trucks in December 2008.
U.S. court records state that Wong complained in an email to Stark after the second shipment was intercepted by police.