A man police say was connected to murdered Red Scorpions gang co-founder Konaam Shirzad is in a Kamloops courtroom this week for a two-day preliminary inquiry.
Brandon Chappell is charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and possessing a firearm without a licence, as well as three counts of possession of property obtained by crime.
The two-day preliminary inquiry began on Tuesday and is being held for a judge to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.
The 31-year-old Chappell has previously been described by police and in court as a member of the Red Scorpions gang, a criminal organization from the Lower Mainland that has been active in Kamloops in recent years.
The charges against Chappell stem from a high-profile investigation into Red Scorpions co-founder Shirzad, who was shot to death outside his Guerin Creek home in Kamloops in September 2017. No arrests have been made, but police have identified “viable suspects,” according to prosecutors.
A Kamloops gym owned by Shirzad was the target of a police raid in January 2017. The investigation into the Red Scorpions began in December 2016, when a significant amount of cash was found by Mounties after a vehicle was pulled over near Merritt.
Evidence heard at Chappell’s preliminary inquiry is protected by a court-ordered ban on publication, but the Crown laid out much of its case against him during previous prosecutions.
The traffic stop led to search warrants being executed at a number of Kamloops locations, including Shirzad’s gym.
Erwin Dagle, 24, another alleged member of the Red Scorpions under Shirzad’s leadership, was sentenced in February to spend a decade in federal prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking. Dagle was arrested and charged as part of the same investigation that snared Chappell, police have said.
Dagle and Chappell are believed to have been working closely with Shirzad prior to his murder — an incident believed to have set off a series of events that culminated in an unprecedented rash of gang violence in Kamloops in late 2018 and early 2019.
Shirzad was one of three founders of the Red Scorpions, the gang behind the 2007 Surrey Six slayings in which six people were executed in a high-rise condo — including two innocent passersby.
Another close associate of Shirzad and Dagle is believed by police to have been responsible for the murder of Troy Gold, who went missing last fall in North Kamloops and whose remains were later found in the Lac du Bois area north of the city. No charges have been laid in connection with that slaying.
One of the firearms charges against Chappell was stayed at the start of this week’s preliminary inquiry
Chappell has elected trial by judge alone in B.C. Supreme Court.