Aerial photograph of Canadian warships docked at CFB Esquimalt Source: Wikipedia
Aerial photograph of Canadian warships docked at CFB Esquimalt
Aerial photograph of Canadian warships docked at CFB Esquimalt               Source: Wikipedia

By Katie DeRosa, Victoria Times Colonist

Esquimalt: A 32-year-old sailor from CFB Esquimalt, who had been assigned to a ship responsible for a major drug-interception operation, has been charged with drug trafficking, the Canadian Forces said.

Leading Seaman Curtis Thiele was charged by military police for allegedly selling drugs in Esquimalt, which neighbours Victoria.

Thiele faces three counts of drug trafficking and will be tried before a military tribunal. He was stationed on HMCS Calgary, which in October was part of a million-dollar marijuana bust southwest of San Diego, the first day of a multinational mission against trafficking.

The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service’s drug-enforcement team launched a probe in July after a “third-party complaint,” said Maj. Robert Wuskynyk, who oversees drug cases. Military police from Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt also assisted in the investigation.

A sailor was allegedly observed selling drugs in Esquimalt between Sept. 14 and 18.

“From what our investigation revealed, (the) activity focused on the Esquimalt area,” Wuskynyk said Monday. “We don’t have any information (about) conducting this activity on the base.”

A small amount of heroin and cocaine was seized, Wuskynyk said.

Thiele was arrested on Sept. 18 and released the next day on several conditions, including prohibitions against possessing firearms or any prohibited weapons and possessing or consuming illegal drugs.

Thiele was removed from HMCS Calgary and re-assigned to work in the Canadian Forces fleet school as he awaits trial, Wuskynyk said.

Charges were laid on Nov. 27. Thiele’s conditions do not affect his normal work duties, Wuskynyk said.

A date has not yet been set for the military tribunal. A military court has the power to sentence Canadian Forces members to sanctions that include jail time, reprimand, fine, reduction in rank or dismissal.

Capt. Steve Juillet, commanding officer of the national drug-enforcement team, said in a statement the investigation service “will continue to take a proactive approach to drug investigations in an effort to combat drug use within the (Canadian Forces).”

© 2014 The Canadian Press