POLITICS

Undercover cop knew nothing of Rob Ford probe, trial of ex-mayor's friend told

03/26/2015 04:00 EDT | Updated 05/25/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - An undercover cop purchased marijuana ostensibly supplied by Alexander (Sandro) Lisi, a friend of Rob Ford's, but was unaware Lisi was part of an extraordinary investigation into the former mayor's "crack video," an Ontario court heard Thursday.

Under cross-examination, Det. Ross Fernandes said he had never seen anything like the surveillance aircraft, secret pole cameras and other tactics police used to investigate Ford in 2013 amid reports of a video showing him apparently smoking crack cocaine.

Instead, Fernandes said, his "target" was Jamshid (Jay) Bahrami, owner of a west-end dry cleaners, and later Lisi, who was Ford's pal and sometime driver and bodyguard.

In hours of intercepts played for the court, Fernandes presses Bahrami to hook him up with Lisi for a drug deal. Lisi, however, feeling the heat from the "crack video" probe, was keeping a low profile.

Finally, on Oct. 1, 2013, Bahrami told Fernandes, who is no longer an undercover agent, to come by to pick up "some shirts" apparently dropped off by Lisi.

Fernandes, under drug-squad orders to make no arrests, heads to the store and agrees to buy about 115 grams of pot. Lisi wants $1,000, Bahrami tells him. He offers $800.

Bahrami, as middle man, calls Lisi and gets him to agree to "nine shirts" or $900. But Lisi refuses to show his face as Fernandes wants.

"The heat's on him," Bahrami explains to Fernandes. "He's getting psycho."

Bahrami, 49, had a licence to grow and possess medicinal marijuana for chronic rheumatoid arthritis, but Fernandes told court his superiors never mentioned his licence even though they knew about it.

Before leaving with the drugs, Fernandes asks Bahrami how much Lisi can supply in the future.

"Any amount you want," the store owner responds.

Fernandes had no further contact with Bahrami, who was arrested with Lisi, 36, two weeks later and charged with various drug offences. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

The officer never did meet or talk to Lisi. He also admitted he never saw Bahrami, who increasingly appeared to consider the agent a close friend, actually sell any marijuana.

"There was no procession of dubious characters in and out of the store?" Bahrami's lawyer, Jacob Stilman, asked.

"No." Fernandes said. "Was Mr. Bahrami a nice man? Absolutely."

In total, after six weeks of cozying up to Bahrami, Fernandes managed to buy a total of 680 grams of marijuana worth a total of $3,100 at the store — $2,200 of it from a supplier called Dan, court heard.

Ford, now a city councillor who publicly admitted to use crack cocaine, was never charged.

The trial continues Friday with further cross-examination of Fernandes and the officer who arrested Lisi.