One of the most wanted cocaine traffickers in Canada was
arrested in Nayarit, Mexico
on Wednesday, May 2nd
. This is a clear indication that Canadian and
Mexican authorities are ramping up their coordination in tracking organized
Nicholas Michael Lucier, 44, a Vancouver Island native, was
picked up on an international warrant that was issued in September 2009 after
he’d skipped parole for a cocaine trafficking conviction.
The Secretary General of Government in Nayarit, Jose Trinidad
Espinosa Vargas, told the Mexican press that it was the collaboration between
the Attorney General of the State (PGJE) and Interpol that led to Lucier’s
Espinosa Vargas also alluded to a strong relationship
between Interpol and the federal Attorney General’s office in Mexico, or “PGR”,
which, he said, was highly responsive to requests for assistance from his office
In Mexico, the PGR acts as prosecutor for federal crimes,
and is better-resourced that its state counterparts. Nayarit, a popular tourist
destination on the Pacific coast, is one of Mexico’s smaller states. It borders
the state of Jalisco
Espinosa Vargas - Helped out by Interpol, the PGR, and (maybe) the RCMP
Lucier, who was going by the alias Corry Corbett, was
captured just outside Nuevo Vallarta, north of the resort town of Puerto
The arrest came only four days after the Canadian Thomas
Gisby, another known drug trafficker, was
in the nearby Paradise
in Nuevo Vallarta.
Though officials have not stated whether the events are
linked, Lucier’s arrest almost certainly comes from increased scrutiny on the part
of Mexican authorities, which may be due to the Gisby murder.
Mexico is in the midst of a six-year drug war that has
claimed over 50,000 lives, and its investigative resources are strapped.
The Mexican government does have the ability to closely
track immigration, particularly by air, over an extended period of time, but the
PGJE in Nayarit likely couldn’t have managed this on their own. For that they needed the assistance and
resources of the PGR, which is tied in to Interpol.
After Lucier disappeared in 2009 the police in Victoria,
, said they believed he had likely left the country. However,
at the time of his arrest in Mexico the RCMP website still said that “his
whereabouts remain unknown”, with no indication that he might have been outside
Lucier has a criminal record dating back to 1983. Convictions
include possession of a prohibited weapon, robbery and assault. He went on the
lam when he was in parole for a 3 year and 7 month sentence brought down in
2007. That conviction was for possession of narcotics for the purpose of
In 2005 Lucier was charged with six counts of possession for
purposes of drug trafficking, possession
of firearm and ammunition in
violation of a court order, and unsafe
that time, the possession charge was significant: almost four kilos of cocaine, 1.8 kilos of
heroin, nearly half a kilo
of marijuana, 25 grams of crack cocaine, eight tablets
of ecstasy, and 12 grams of
methamphetamine. The firearms charge was for a .38
home in Saanich
, on Vancouver Island near
the provincial capital of Victoria, was raided. This was part of a larger
operation in which nearly 100 police officers raided five homes in Saanich and
the West Shore.
The cops seized four high-powered handguns, two vehicles,
$420,600 in cash, a stun gun, bear spray, and body armour.
They also found 22.5 kilograms of cocaine, with the lion’s
share, 22 kilos, found at a Saanich address that press reports say “was
associated with Lucier”. The street value of the cocaine was estimated to be
over $1 million.
Lucier's RCMP mug shot
It has been reported that Lucier was acquainted with Gisby, who
was shot to death in a Starbucks at 9 a.m on Saturday, April 28th,
just after ordering his morning coffee. However,
there is no indication that they were business associates.
Gisby, 47, was a high-level trafficker who had been active
in the drug trade in British Columbia for over two decades, and was reportedly
well-connected to Colombian and Mexican cartels.
(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero
, a Detective Sánchez novel
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