- Our Town
Murdered Kelowna man linked to Sam Brown heli-smuggling bust
The Southeast District Major Crimes Unit confirmed a man found murdered in Kelowna on Monday, Feb. 18, is connected to a major drug smuggling sting that led to the capture of Revelstoke resident Sam Brown. Brown was arrested by U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials in Washington State while piloting a marijuana-laden helicopter.
Brown committed suicide in a Spokane, Washington, jail just days later.
West Kelowna resident Jeremy Daniel Snow, 33, was found dead on Monday inside a crashed car alongside Tiffany June Goruk, 30, also of West Kelowna. Investigators announced the pair were murdered before the car wreck.
Snow was recently paroled. He was arrested in March 2009 in Idaho while piloting a helicopter full of marijuana he was flying south from Canada.
The arrest was part of a joint DEA and RCMP counter drug smuggling operation called Operation Blade Runner. Snow pleaded guilty in a U.S. federal court in June of 2009 to a charge of possession with the intent to distribute. As part of an agreement, government prosecutors recommended a sentence of a little less than four years. He was eventually transferred to a Canadian prison before his recent parole.
Just days before his arrest in Idaho, Brown was arrested in a similar drug smuggling flight to Washington State.
Police eventually arrested seven people and seized two helicopters, 83 kilograms of cocaine, 340 kilograms of marijuana and nine pounds of ecstasy as part of the Blade Runner operation.
Several individuals with multiple legal brushes with the law were implicated, including Malakwa resident Colin Martin, whose company leased the helicopter seized by U.S. authorities in Washington. Martin claimed the helicopter was stolen from his property, although he waited several days to report the theft.
In a 2009 interview with the Times Review, Martin confirmed he was a friend of Brown.
Martin is a self-confessed drug kingpin who did an interview in the year following Blade Runner, saying he was trying to reform his ways — although the vow didn't seem to hold.
Martin is currently behind bars and facing extradition proceedings to the U.S. and is also facing charges including production of a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking following a police raid of a major marijuana grow operation at his residence in Malakwa in July of 2010.
He is amongst several individuals facing extradition proceedings.