A Surrey man facing charges of trafficking in fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine in Langley was found not guilty on all charges last month in Surrey Provincial Court.
Benny Huynh was arrested on May 31, 2017 as a result of a Langley RCMP drug squad project aimed at investigating a known dial-a-dope drug phone.
Undercover officers had called the phone starting on May 18, and made a number of successful undercover drug purchases, and police tried to identify vehicles and people connected to the drug line.
They followed the trail back to a Surrey residence and a man who travelled to and from that home in a Mazda CX5.
On May 31, the police videotaped an exchange between the driver of the first Mazda, allegedly Huynh, and a second Mazda CX5.
The driver of the first Mazda got out of his car carrying a grey plastic shopping bag, walked up to the rear passenger door of the second Mazda, and put the bag into the back.
The police followed the second Mazda and arrested a woman who was a short distance from the parked car.
A search of the woman’s purse turned up a bag with individually wrapped drugs, and more drugs were found inside a grey plastic Walmart shopping bag in the center console of the second Mazda.
Huynh was arrested later. Police say in addition to cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl they discovered the even more powerful opioid carfentanil, along with alprazolam, a prescription anti-anxiety medication.
The Crown argued at trial that both packages of drugs found on the woman and in her car had been in the bag delivered from the first Mazda, by a man they alleged was Huynh.
The woman who allegedly accepted the drugs has already been acquitted after a previous trial found she had been subjected to an illegal strip search.
An earlier ruling also eliminated evidence found at Huynh’s apartment, after Jetté found a search had been conducted without sufficient grounds, eliminating three of the charges against Huynh.
Judge Mark Jetté found that the remainder of the case against Huynh was circumstantial, and didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Huynh was the only person who could have put the drugs into the second vehicle.
“Although I find that the bag located in the second Mazda was probably the same bag transferred by the driver of the first, I cannot come to that conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt,” Jetté wrote in a Feb. 28 decision.
“From what I am able to observe of the plastic bag on the video, it appears to be similar but not identical to the Walmart bag, which was found in the centre console of the second Mazda,” Jetté wrote.
In the 16 minutes between the exchange and the arrest of the woman driving the second Mazda, the vehicle was not kept under continuous surveillance, “which means that it is not possible to say whether items were moved in or out of the van during that span of time; that gap left ample opportunity for something like this to have happened undetected by police.”
He also raised doubt about the identity of the man transferring the bag with Huynh.
Huynh was found not guilty of all charges.