2 Canadians with ties to Mexican cartel get life for drugs

The Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Wednesday sentenced two Canadian nationals with links to a Mexican drug cartel to life imprisonment for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

In an 11-page decision, Selma Palacio Alaras, acting presiding judge of Makati RTC Branch 63, also ordered the accused, James Riach and Ali Memar Mortazavi Shirazi, to pay a fine of P500,000 each.

The court found the two guilty of possession of P100 million worth of cocaine, ecstasy and “shabu” (crystal meth) during a Jan. 2014 raid at the high-end Gramercy Residences in Makati City.

The large quantity of shabu was found at Unit 6504, where Riach received the search warrant, while recovered from Unit 3803, where Shirazi was found, were “various chemicals, drug paraphernalia, assorted capsules and tablets, and an undetermined amount of white crystalline substance.”

Shirazi had said that he was merely visiting the unit during the raid, but Alaras described the evidence recovered from Shirazi’s unit as “substantial and not common substances to assume them to be planted evidence.” —Matthew Reysio-Cruz