canadasvoice:Introverted and odd.
That’s how former friends and teammates remember a Calgary man accused of running a prolific multimillion-dollar, city-based international drug cartel — one investigators have linked to both Mexican narcotics rings and a brazen 2017 double homicide.
Last week, details emerged about Project Arbour, a far-reaching investigation carried out by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) in association with Calgary police, the RCMP and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Facing 46 drug, weapons and trafficking charges are Drew Mann, 25, Matthew Spiers, 24, Bryan Livingston, 32, Blais Delaire, 26, and alleged ringleader Allistair Chapman, 25. Chapman is a former junior hockey player whose alleged ties to Mexican drug cartels was deemed more important to his crew than his likability, a source told Postmedia shortly after news about Project Arbour broke.
“The funny thing is, gang members didn’t like Chapman. In fact, they hated him,” said the source. “But he was the one who had the contacts.”
While the group’s alleged involvement in Calgary’s underground drug trade was known around town at least as early as 2014, details about how and when they got their start is murkier.
Described by one source as “the biggest drug dealer in Calgary,” Chapman’s reputation as a Cowtown kingpin was largely built on violence both within and outside of the city’s narcotics underworld, Postmedia has learned.
Court records obtained by Postmedia show Project Arbour represents the first criminal charges laid against Chapman.
Many former associates and hockey teammates declined interview requests, while those who did agree did so under a condition of anonymity, fearing for their well-being.
Born in 1992, Chapman was mostly known in his younger years for his talent on the ice.
In 2007, the 6-foot-1, 181-pound defenceman played 27 games with the midget AAA Calgary Flames, ranking in his team’s top 10 for goals, assists and penalty minutes.
The same year, Chapman was a fifth-round pick by the Swift Current Broncos in the 2007 WHL Bantam draft, chosen 96th overall.
Lacing up for the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) for the 2008-09 season, Chapman played 10 games for the Calgary Royals — today known as the Mustangs — before being traded to the Drayton Valley Thunder — the final stop on his junior hockey career.
“We really stunk that year,” recalled one of Chapman’s teammates with a laugh.
Indeed, Drayton Valley finished dead last in the 2008-09 AJHL season, winning only seven out of 62 games.
That led to a large number of players coming and going in what would end up being the worst season in the franchise’s 20-year history. Chapman was among them, playing only three games with the Thunder, scoring no goals and earning no points.
Another Drayton Valley teammate described Chapman as cocky and arrogant, and wasn’t one to make friends with teammates.
“He was relatively introverted,” he remembers.
“Some of the guys in Drayton thought he was a bit odd, and they were kind of put off by him.”
Returning to Calgary, Chapman’s alleged rise to power — alongside pals he went to school with — would occur in the years to come.
Even investigators remarked during last week’s news conference at how quickly the crew rose in prominence.
“We know they worked their way up fairly quickly, and they had contacts with other groups,” said Staff Sgt. Barry McCurdy of ALERT’s organized crime unit, the team responsible for bringing down the Calgary cartel.
“There are some blanks there we obviously aren’t aware of. They did reach a fairly high level at a fairly young age.”
The charges that would eventually be laid against the five were a surprise to some of those who knew them — but not to everyone.
In fact, some who spoke to Postmedia were more surprised police took as long as they did to lay charges.
Chapman earned somewhat of a fearsome reputation in Calgary, with one source recalling being told “you don’t wanna screw with him.”
“He seemed a little off, like he could snap at any time,” said one former associate.
“He used to get into fights at every party.”
Said to have a short temper, Chapman’s penchant for score-settling apparently made itself known last year.
On May 21, in front of horrified onlookers, two men were shot to death in the crowded parking lot of the 130th Avenue S.E. Real Canadian Superstore.
Anees Amr, 26, along with 23-year-old Colin Reitberger — believed to be the intended target of the shooting — both died at the scene.
Police allege Reitberger’s murder was actually a hit ordered by Chapman as part of an ongoing dispute, and that Amr, described as a friend of the victim and uninvolved in the drug trade, was merely an unintended victim.
Christian Ouellette, 20, said to be the cartel’s enforcer, was arrested a few weeks later in connection with the double-homicide, a crime police say was carried out with a gun provided to him by Delaire, who had additional weapons trafficking and prohibited firearm manufacturing charges laid against him….Mor
Source – Calgary Herald
- Lina Golestaneh