Plot leads to mul­ti­ple charges

Op­er­a­tion B-Taran­tula nets six men on charges of plot­ting to mur­der, co­caine traf­fick­ing

The Western Star - - CLOSE TO HOME - BY TARA BRAD­BURY Tara_brad­[email protected]­gram.com Twitter: @tara_brad­bury

A po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion dubbed Op­er­a­tion B-Taran­tula has re­sulted in the ar­rest of six men and the seizure of co­caine, hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in cash, firearms and ve­hi­cles — and there’s more to come, po­lice say.

Five of the men made quick ap­pear­ances be­fore a judge in pro­vin­cial court in St. John’s Thurs­day af­ter­noon. Among them was Dustin (Dusty) Etheridge, 26, whose al­leged crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity in­spired the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Etheridge has been in cus­tody since the mid­dle of May, when he and John Squires, 34, were ar­rested and charged with con­spir­ing to mur­der al­leged Hells An­gels as­so­ci­ate Bradley Sum­mers. Etheridge and Squires were also charged with a num­ber of weapons of­fences re­lated to a loaded hand­gun.

On Thurs­day, Etheridge was given his new­est charges: one count each of traf­fick­ing co­caine, con­spir­ing to traf­fic co­caine, pos­sess­ing more than $5,000 cash ob­tained from sell­ing the drug, dan­ger­ous driv­ing and breach­ing a court or­der. Squires was also charged with traf­fick­ing and con­spir­ing to traf­fic co­caine.

Nine­teen-year-old Bran­don Glasco and 24-year-old Shane Clarke were charged Thurs­day with par­tic­i­pat­ing in the plot to kill Sum­mers. Both men are fac­ing two charges each re­lated to co­caine traf­fick­ing as well, and Glasco was handed ad­di­tional charges of care­less use of a firearm, pos­ses­sion of a weapon for a dan­ger­ous pur­pose and pos­sess­ing a firearm in a ve­hi­cle.

Corey Johnathan Stevens, 32, was charged with traf­fick­ing co­caine, pos­ses­sion of the drug for the pur­pose of traf­fick­ing it and con­spir­ing to traf­fic it.

Bradley Squires, 29, is charged with traf­fick­ing and con­spir­ing to traf­fic co­caine.

In­spec­tor Derek San­to­su­osso of the RNC/RCMP Com­bined Forces Spe­cial En­force­ment Unit (CFSEU-NL) said in a me­dia state­ment Op­er­a­tion BTaran­tula be­gan last March, with the goal of in­ves­ti­gat­ing the al­leged crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties of Etheridge and his as­so­ci­ates. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion crossed into other provinces, in­clud­ing New Brunswick, Nova Sco­tia, Que­bec and On­tario, San­to­su­osso said.

Etheridge and John Squires were the first ar­rests as a re­sult of the op­er­a­tion, and as a re­sult, po­lice ex­e­cuted search war­rants at a num­ber of homes, ho­tels, busi­nesses and ve­hi­cles in the St. John’s area.

As a re­sult, of­fi­cers seized seven kilo­grams of co­caine, about $240,000 cash, 20 firearms, in­clud­ing two hand­guns and am­mu­ni­tion, a 2014 Cadil­lac CTS and a 2012 Dodge Dually truck, and drug para­pher­na­lia like cash coun­ters and score sheets.

“The CFSEU-NL in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing and in­ves­ti­ga­tors an­tic­i­pate fur­ther charges will be laid,” San­to­su­osso said.

Brad Sum­mers, the tar­get of the al­leged mur­der plot, is also in cus­tody, and has agreed to re­main there un­til a bail hear­ing in about two weeks time. He was ar­rested last week and charged with three of­fences re­lated to a hand­gun, as well as a break-in at a home on White Place in Mount Pearl with the in­tent to com­mit an of­fence.

Sum­mers is not a stranger to the CFSEU, hav­ing been ar­rested five years ago as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into out­law mo­tor­cy­cle gangs and charged with as­sault and ut­ter­ing threats.

TARA BRAD­BURY/THE TELE­GRAM

Dustin Etheridge at court in St. John’s on Thurs­day.

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