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Burnaby man and stepdad charged after organized-crime probe

Mathew Borden, 32, and John Canning, 59, face firearm and drug trafficking charges
Victory Street condo
The province's director of civil forfeiture is going after a Victory Street condo owned by Mathew Borden and Vicky Wang as an alleged proceed of crime. Google Street View

A two-year police investigation into an “organized crime, drug trafficking organization” has led to drug and weapons charges against a 32-year-old Burnaby man and his 59-year-old stepfather.

Mathew Borden has been charged with two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking and three firearms counts.

His stepfather John Canning, of Surrey, faces one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking.

The charges stem from a Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit investigation launched in April 2019 into “an organized crime group led by a male known for his criminal activity and associations to gangs,” according to a CFSEU news release.  

The investigation led the anti-gang agency to two homes – Borden’s Victory Street condo and Canning’s Surrey home – where search warrants turned up a loaded, untraceable semi-automatic handgun, an automatic AR 15 rifle, 200 rounds of ammunition, 2.25 kilograms of cocaine, 700 grams of heroin, 5.5 kilograms of phenacetin (a common cutting agent), more than $100,000 in cash, jewelry and three vehicles.

Charges against the two men were approved by the B.C. Prosecution Service on March 22, and Borden was arrested on March 29, while Canning was served with a summons.

Both have since been released as they await the judicial process.

“The removal of potentially deadly drugs and weapons from the hands of individuals who make our communities unsafe is important to CFSEU-BC and motivates our investigative teams every day,” CFSEU Sgt. Brenda Winpenny said in the release. “The CFSEU-BC is dedicated to doing whatever we can to make our streets safer and holding those people accountable who put the public at the greatest risk of harm.” 

Well before the charges were approved against the two men, the province’s civil forfeiture office launched a lawsuit against Borden, his wife Vicky Wang, Canning and his wife Vera, claiming the seized cash, jewelry, three vehicles (including a 2018 Jaguar) and Borden’s bank funds were the “proceeds and instruments of unlawful activity,” including drug trafficking and money laundering, and should therefore be forfeited to the province.

Borden has denied the allegations and says the police search violated his charter rights.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor