Career drug trafficker linked to Steve Nash centres juice bars in Langley and Surrey

A Surrey man with an extensive criminal history in Canada and the US had the deal
For the juice bar at the Willowbrook location.

  • Jul. 1, 2016 7:00 p.m.

By Kim Bolan/Special to the Langley Advance

Frederic Wilson has a history in the drug trade that dates back more than 20 years.

His latest arrest came in May when anti-gang police officers raided his White Rock rental house a block from the beach and found a clandestine drug lab inside. They also found cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and firearms.

At the time, Wilson was out on bail on earlier drug trafficking charges laid in Vancouver. 

The 46-year-old B.C. man is known to police as far away as California. He was picked up with his then-wife in Sacramento in June 1999 with four kilograms of cocaine in his rental vehicle. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 14 years.

“We believe that he’s well-connected, and that those connections through his alleged illegal activity extend to a national level and have existed for several years,” said Staff Sgt. Lindsey Houghton of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.

Yet despite his lengthy criminal record, Wilson has opened at least two B.C. companies in recent years and struck a deal with the Steve Nash Fitness World gyms to operate juice bars inside Surrey and Langley locations.

Steve Nash spokesperson Colleen Kirk said the company had no idea of Wilson’s criminal history when he and a business partner “became vendors” in July 2014.

“Nobody was privy to that information. I will say that we have no interaction with them,” she told The Vancouver Sun.

She said the Better Body Cafés owned by Wilson and his partner are operated by employees. So the career criminal is never on site.

“They are strictly owners of Better Body Café. They are not in our clubs,” Kirk said. “Of course, we’re troubled by (the connection). But at this stage of the game, the RCMP are involved and they’re handling it. There isn’t anything else we can do at this point.”

The Sun recently visited both gyms — Surrey’s at 13821 103 Ave., and the Langley site at 19925 Willowbrook Dr. The juice bars are located near the front desk at each gym and offer patrons smoothies, wraps and other healthy snacks.

Kirk admitted that café customers wouldn’t know their money is going to a business owned by a convicted drug trafficker.

“They would be unaware if nobody’s privy to this information,” she said, stressing that the two Better Body Cafés “have nothing to do with the Steve Nash clubs.”

“They lease a space from us,” she said. “We will follow the direction of the RCMP when they complete all of their investigation. And that’s something we are not privy to yet. So we are letting the police do their job.”

Wilson, who also uses the surname Wilson-Koonpackdee, became a director of Better Body Café Inc. on Feb. 3, 2014, according to records obtained from the B.C. corporate registry. 

Wilson’s other company, West Panorama Developers Inc., was incorporated on Oct. 29, 2013 — just days after he was charged in Vancouver with four counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of precursor chemicals used to make methamphetamine.

He is the only director of the company, which lists its address on corporate records as Wilson’s house at 5846 134A Street.

The B.C. government now wants that house forfeited, alleging in a B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit that Wilson had no legitimate source of income when the house was bought for $768,000 in December 2011.

The Surrey house is not the only asset linked to Wilson suspected of being a proceed of crime.

The B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office also seized a total of $95,328.68 in cash taken by CFSEU investigators in 2013, executive director Phil Tawtel told The Sun.

“As a result of receiving five separate file referrals from police, the (Civil Forfeiture Office) commenced five separate administrative forfeiture proceedings, each involving large amounts of cash where Wilson was named as an interest holder,” Tawtel said in an email. “As no dispute was received in these matters, all of the cash was forfeited and the files concluded.”

Wilson was sentenced on June 30 to seven years in jail by a B.C. Provincial Court for possessing drugs and pre-cursor chemicals located in a clandestine lab in a Vancouver high rise on May 1, 2012.

Police noticed the smell of cocaine as soon as they entered the unit Wilson had leased at 821 Cambie St.

“The kitchen counter tops were dusted with cocaine powder,” Judge Frances Howard said in finding Wilson guilty.

In the kitchen, the police found a grinder contaminated with heroin and cocaine and two electrical vacuum sealers – one that had Wilson’s fingerprint on it.

There were five bottles of hair spray, which Howard noted “can be used to hold cocaine in place to be pressed.”

A 10-ton hydraulic press was in a walk-in closet. Ingredients for methamphetamine were in a plastic bowl in a storage room and a jug on top of the washing machine.

Wilson’s co-accused, Thai Nguyen, was caught nearby with a loaded revolver in his car, as well as fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.

Howard heard about suspicious behavior by Wilson that went on for years.

At the Prince George Airport in October 2010, security agents found a shoebox in Wilson’s bag that was filled with cash. He grabbed it from an agent, tossed it to a companion and told the man to run.

Police later found Wilson and his friend in a local hotel room with $90,000.

“The tossing of a cash-filled shoebox to his friend and telling that person to ‘run’ is clearly an unusual and highly provocative action by Wilson from which one might reasonably infer that something criminal may be afoot,” Howard said.

A few months later in April 2011, Surrey RCMP seized a package containing cocaine at a FedEx office. Wilson’s fingerprints were on it.

In December that year, he was stopped in his Cadillac Escalade. Police found a cell phone signal jammer and $20,000.

While under surveillance in Yaletown in March 2012, Wilson did a U-turn and began to follow the officer “in an aggressive manner.”

“At one point, Wilson pulled into oncoming traffic in order to pass two vehicles that were stopped at a red light,” Howard said in her ruling.

On May 4, 2012, after police search Wilson’s Surrey house and found more evidence of his links to the drug trade, he sent text messages to one of the officers asking to meet and claiming he had “something to trade” related to “public safety.”

He later spoke to the officer by phone and was told he would be charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Wilson replied: “Oh, okay, I thought it would be more of a conspiracy thing.”

Wilson has had many aliases over the years.

When he was arrested in California, he was using the name Wayne Lee Nelson. Among his other aliases are: Mark Charles Boa, Duane Willon and Daniel Rueben Russell.

When he was applying to transfer from California to a Canadian prison in June 2005, he told officials he had “owned a fitness centre” prior to his arrest.

The U.S. records said he had no prior criminal history until he was convicted there in 1999.

In fact, Wilson already had a Canadian record when a state trooper pulled him over for speeding in Sacramento and then called for a drug-sniffing dog.

In June 1995, he was convicted of conspiracy to traffic in narcotics and sentenced to two and half years in jail.

In June 1997, he was convicted of possessing the proceeds of crime and received a six-month sentence.

And in 1998, he was convicted of uttering threats and fined $1,000.

In March 2015, he was convicted of trafficking again and received a 12-month conditional sentence.

He was under investigation again shortly after the Cambie Street drug lab was raided.

B.C.’s anti-gang agency began its probe of Wilson for allegedly trafficking cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and human growth hormone in August 2012, according to the civil forfeiture lawsuit over the Surrey house.

In March 2013, he was seen handing over a backpack to some associates in Surrey which police later seized. It contained three kilograms of cocaine.

In April 2013, police seized cocaine, heroin, meth and other drugs as well as a pill press, vacuum sealers and other bags “at a suite associated with Pardeep Grewal” — the same woman arrested with him last month at the White Rock lab.

In October 2013, he was arrested leaving a Surrey automotive repair shop with a shoebox that contained “eight bundles of cash totaling $38,500.” Police then searched the shop and found 50 kilos of MDMA, as well as cocaine, other drugs, another press and a loaded pistol.

Confidential informants told police Wilson was behind the movement of large amounts of cocaine and other drugs to northern B.C and eastern Canada.

Judge Howard said police doing surveillance in the Vancouver case noted that “Wilson appeared not to be regularly employed.”

“He was never seen attending to any sort of job site on a regular basis, be it an office job or a labour job,” she said.

.

– Kim Bolan is a Vancouver Sun reporter

– For more from the Sun, go to vancouvervancouversun.com

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