Ahmed Riyaz Tahir had no criminal record when undercover Burnaby RCMP officers busted him for dealing fentanyl a little more than two years ago.
He was just 19 years old, and the charges were serious but nothing compared to what he would face just a few months later, after he walked up behind 19-year-old Blerton Dalipi and shot him to death in broad daylight in front of the Boss Vapes store in Burnaby on May 8, 2021.
"He did not have a criminal record – he does now," Crown prosecutor Heather Pineo said at a sentencing hearing on the drug charges in Vancouver provincial court last week.
“What happened?” asked B.C. provincial court Judge Ellen Gordon about the turn Tahir's life had taken.
Defence lawyer Connor Muldoon said he didn’t have a clear answer.
“It’s really a very sad story,” he said.
Tahir’s parents are hardworking people, Muldoon said; his father owns a barbershop and his mother works at Walmart.
Tahir graduated from the Burnaby school district’s Royal Oak alternative program after attending New Westminster Secondary School for a time.
He had done some work for a moving company and helped his dad at the barbershop, according to Muldoon.
But somewhere along the way, his life took a turn in the wrong direction.
Now just 21 years old, Tahir is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 15 years for the vape store shooting, which police said was linked to the Lower Mainland gang conflict.
And, at the end of the hearing last Thursday, Gordon handed him another two-year sentence for trafficking.
Since it will run concurrently with his life sentence, the new sentence won’t mean extra time for Tahir, but Muldoon noted it will be on his record and impact his institutional classification in prison.
“Mr. Tahir is going to have a great deal of time to reflect upon what happened,” Muldoon said.
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