(CBC) – An RCMP officer from Surrey, B.C., is facing 16 criminal charges for a wide range of drug and weapons offences, the force announced Tuesday morning.
David M. Clarke has been charged with breach of trust for possessing stolen property including marijuana, identification documents and police property, and for trafficking in marijuana.
He has also been charged with possession of stolen property and 14 firearms-related charges related to the illegal possession of several semi-automatic handguns and rifles, and pump-action shotguns.
Police allege Clarke committed the offences in Chilliwack, and said he was removed from duty on Oct. 1 after the matter first came to light.
Clarke appeared in Surrey provincial court on Tuesday morning and is scheduled to make his next court appearance there on Jan. 18, 2011, police said.
“Const. Clarke will remain suspended until all of these matters, both criminal and internal, have been dealt with,” said Surrey detachment Chief Supt. Fraser MacRae.
Surrey Mountie charged with drugs, weapons offences
Ethan Baron (The Province) December 22, 2010
A Mountie earlier named in a lawsuit over a firearms raid appeared in court Tuesday charged with 15 offences including drug dealing and illegal possession of handguns and an assault rifle.
Surrey RCMP Const. David Clarke, 35, is charged with selling marijuana and possessing stolen marijuana along with stolen ID documents and police property. Additional charges relate to alleged possession of a semi-automatic FN FAL assault rifle, a Glock 9mm pistol, a Colt pistol, a Mossberg pump-action shotgun, a Remington Mohawk semi-automatic rifle, and ammo magazines.
“They are serious charges,” said B.C. RCMP spokesman Sgt. Rob Vermeulen. “It’s disappointing any time we see a police officer charged. It’s disappointing not just for the public but for other police officers. It tends to paint us all with the same brush.”
Vermeulen said police conducted a “thorough and fast investigation” of Clarke, who has served 4-1/2 years in the RCMP.
“The allegation was made Oct. 1. Two-and-a-half months later he’s appearing in court to answer to those charges,” Vermeulen said.
Clarke has been suspended with pay since Oct. 5. RCMP brass are reviewing the case to determine if he should be suspended without pay, Vermeulen said.
The charged Mountie will remain suspended pending the outcome of court proceedings and an internal investigation, Vermeulen said.
Clarke is named in a lawsuit by members of the Bader family, whose properties were raided during a firearms investigation in May 2008 that saw hundreds of guns siezed. Five members of the family were charged with a host of gun offences, but the charges were later stayed.
Vermeulen said he could not say whether there was any connection between weapons allegedly in possession of Clarke and the Bader-family raids.
However, Clarke and an RCMP firearms-enforcement officer who initiated the raids and is named in the lawsuit have both started side businesses pursuing the law-enforcement market, the same clientele targeted by Travis Bader’s Silvercore Advanced Training Systems.
An RCMP report to Crown counsel shows that Clarke was involved in the decision to execute search warrants at Silvercore and the property of Travis Bader’s father Gordon, and had argued against simply approaching Gordon to ask for guns believed to be held illegally.
“Constable Clarke objected to this suggestion and explained that if Gordon Bader had seven or eight unregistered firearms then it was quite conceivable that he has additional unregistered firearms,” said the report, which noted that RCMP firearms officer Jeffrey Harrison [see Ethan Baron column] was a participant in the discussion. “It was agreed that the best course of action would be to obtain search warrants for the addresses associated to Gordon Bader and Silvercore.”
In the lawsuit, filed this May, Clarke is alleged by the plaintiffs to have participated in unlawful search and arrest, false imprisonment, assault and battery, negligence and malicious prosecution. Clarke runs a business called LEO Productions. The website, www.leoproductions.ca, says, “We specialize in bringing in speakers and hosting seminars that are geared towards law enforcement officers.” The site features photos of what appear to be an RCMP cruiser and an RCMP-issue service pistol. The mailing address provided is in Chilliwack, at a property shown by provincial land titles records to be co-owned by Clarke, who lists his occupation as “public servant.”
On Monday, The Province called the number listed under contact information on the website, and was connected to a voicemail greeting from “Dave.” The Province left a message. Within half an hour, the website was blocked to public access.
RCMP internal investigators, if not already aware of a business run by Clarke, may well include that issue in their investigation, Vermeulen said.