VANCOUVER - RCMP hope a plea from Vancouver's mayor persuades his former foster son to turn himself into police on weapons and drug charges.
Investigators have issued arrest warrants for three Vancouver men accused of running a "dial-a-dope" cocaine operation, and among them is 21-year-old Jinagh Navas-Rivas. Two others also face charges.
Police have been unable to locate Navas-Rivas, who lived in the care of Mayor Gregor Robertson and his wife between 2007 and 2009.
"We've spoken with the mayor and we will continue to speak with the mayor as we move this investigation forward if we feel that's necessary," RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen said in an interview Friday.
"It certainly has come to our attention that one of the suspects may have a family relationship to the mayor of Vancouver and we're looking closely at that scenario based on the information that's been provided to us."
Thiessen would not disclose any details of the conversations with the mayor.
He said police were hoping a public statement issued by the mayor on Thursday would help investigators.
"I am disappointed to hear that Jinagh is wanted by the Richmond RCMP and I urge him to turn himself into the police immediately," the mayor said in the statement.
Neither the mayor nor his main spokesman could be reached for comment Friday.
Navas-Rivas is charged with one count of unlawfully transferring a .22 calibre Ruger pistol with ammunition, and two counts of unlawfully trafficking cocaine.
He has lived on his own since June 2009, Robertson said in his statement.
Thiessen said police executed a search warrant on Dec. 22 in relation to the ongoing criminal investigation.
Officers seized three handguns with ammunition, along with 15 ounces of cocaine, one pound of marijuana, numerous vials of steroids and some MDMA, which is known as ecstasy, said Thiessen.
Thiessen said the investigation centres around alleged "dial-a-dope" operation, in which suspects sold drugs over the telephone. Police were tipped off during the summer.
"We've all seen what happens most recently over the Christmas season when firearms, handguns get into the wrong hands. People end up dying," said Thiessen, referring to a string of four fatal shootings in the Vancouver area since Christmas Eve.
"We're hopeful that we've potentially maybe averted some of that by getting these handguns off the streets."
Police are not alleging any specific gang ties to the operation.
Thiessen wouldn't say if any of the suspects are known to police, or describe how they know one another.
Leslie Miller, 29, was arrested before Christmas in Vancouver, police said.
He appeared in Richmond provincial court on Dec. 28 and will remain in custody until Jan. 5 for his next court appearance.
Another man, Willie Truong, 23, turned himself into Vancouver police on Friday, and he too appeared in Richmond provincial court. He was released on strict conditions before his next appearance on Jan. 5.
Also wanted are Vinh Le, 25, and Raymond Ma, 47.