Former Hells Angel David Oliynyk has spent a lot of the last 30 years behind bars.
In 1989, he was convicted in Washington State and sentenced to 10 years after he was caught south of the border trying to buy 13 kilograms of cocaine.
Just two years after that sentence was done, he was arrested again as the leader of a conspiracy to import and traffic cocaine. In 2006, he was handed another 18 years in prison after a B.C. judge found him to be “primarily in charge” of the scheme to bring 32 kilos of cocaine across the border.
While on parole in 2014, Oliynyk was picked up a third time on drug smuggling charges — this time by Vancouver Police who were aiding an investigation by U.S. Homeland Security.
Now 70, Oliynyk is fighting extradition to the U.S. on the latest charges. Earlier this year, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ordered that he be handed over to the Americans for trial. But he has filed an appeal of that ruling, as has his co-accused Wayne Hollaus.
A third co-accused, Gurpreet Sandhu, has his extradition hearing scheduled later this month at the Vancouver Law Courts.
Three other Canadians charges in the case — Nikolai Terletsky, William Carruthers and Charles Pak — have already been convicted and sentenced.
According to U.S. court documents and details of the extradition rulings so far in the case, Oliynyk was the alleged leader of a conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into Canada.
The Americans began investigating Oliynyk after the arrest of an associate in the U.S. “for involvement in a conspiracy to move cocaine from California to Vancouver,” said a ruling last year denying Oliynyk bail.
That man agreed to be a confidential witness (CW). He told U.S. agents that he had been smuggling drugs on behalf of Oliynyk’s brother-in-law.
“The confidential witness said that shortly before his arrest, he met with Mr. Oliynyk at a gas station in Abbotsford and Mr. Oliynyk provided him with contact information for persons in the USA from whom the confidential witness was supposed to pick up drugs for transport into Canada,” the bail ruling said.
“With the knowledge of Homeland Security, the confidential witness subsequently conversed on a regular basis with Mr. Oliynyk and through that interaction, is said to have arranged a number of drug transactions.”
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Oliynyk allegedly told the witness “to pick up drugs that were brought into Washington for transport to Canada” from Terletsky and Carruthers, who in turn was supposed to deliver cocaine and heroin to Sandhu.
An American undercover agent posed as a member of the drug organization and retrieved cocaine and heroin in Washington state from the two Canadian transporters.
The agent later communicated with Sandhu and arranged to deliver the cocaine and heroin. Sandhu was provided with “sham drugs” which he allegedly placed in a secret compartment of his truck before returning to B.C.
“His truck was searched on the other side and the sham drugs were recovered,” one B.C. ruling said.
Throughout the summer of 2014, Oliynyk allegedly directed the CW to meet with others to pick up drugs in the U.S. to bring to Canada.
But U.S. law enforcement kept intercepting the loads of cocaine and methamphetamine.
At one point, the CW claimed agents had seized drugs from a storage location under a warrant.
Oliynyk allegedly “demanded proof of the warrant and expressed concerns that he would be killed if the drugs were lost.”
In October 2014, Oliynyk directed the CW “to pick up cocaine and $40,000 cash in California.”
A U.S. agent picked up 28 kilos of cocaine and the cash. The drugs were replaced with fake cocaine and the CW coordinated the delivery to Oliynyk, telling the B.C. man “to pick up the drugs from a car parked in Vancouver.”
Oliynyk arrived in a truck driven by Hollaus and both men were arrested by a Vancouver Police officer during a purported traffic stop. They had the sham cocaine in the back of the pickup.
Lawyers for Oliynyk and Hollaus argued in B.C. Supreme Court that their clients Charter rights were violated during the investigation. But so far, their arguments have been unsuccessful. No dates for their appeals have yet been set.
Oliynyk was once the sergeant at arms of the Hells Angels White Rock chapter, “but is no longer affiliated with that organization,” the 2019 bail ruling said.
Oliynyk’s lawyer Jason Gratl did not respond Friday to a request for comment.
Hollaus’ lawyer Michael Klein said he couldn’t comment.