2016 kidnapping, extortion by Hells Angels member related to Hope cannabis grow ops

2016 kidnapping, extortion by Hells Angels member related to Hope cannabis grow ops

Various Hope area grow ops connected to distribution network in Edmonton, court documents detail

A 2016 assault and kidnapping comitted by a Hells Angels member and two associates against another man in Hope was related to a business deal involving local cannabis grow operations.

Edmonton Hells Angels member Neil Cantrill, his son Stephan Cantrill, and Robert Lowry were found guilty July 17 in BC Supreme Court on charges including aggravated assault, kidnapping, forcible confinement and extortion. Court documents made public the victim of the assault, Richard Houle, and detailed the circumstances in which Houle was beaten and threatened by the three men who were arrested by police later the same day.

Houle operated illegal cannabis grow-ops for years before the 2016 assault, a written judgement by Justice Ward Branch read. In 2001 or 2002 Houle began working with Neil Cantrill to have Cantrill’s organization distribute the cannabis he grew at various properties.

Houle agreed to deliver the product to Edmonton and from there Cantrill would take over distribution. Cantrill went by the name ‘Nitro’ in a Nomads Chapter of the Alberta Hells Angels, yet according to Vancouver Sun reporter Kim Bolan has since joined the Westridge chapter of the Hells Angels.

Houle earned between $60,000 to $100,000 annually, in an arrangement where “the expenses of each grow-op would be taken off the top before the distribution of profits between Houle, (Neil Cantrill), and Houle’s other partners,” court documents stated.

One of Houle’s grow-ops was in the basement of an address on Johnson Road in Kawkawa Lake which he owned through a nominee to minimize the risk of the property being seized as a proceed of crimes, and where he also lived.

While Houle said there were “no major difficulties” in this business relationship save for seizures by police and ‘third party thefts’, the relationship ended in 2014 as Houle informed Cantrill he planned to stop growing cannabis.”Houle does not recall (Neil Cantrill) raising any concerns about this change in their relationship,” the court documents stated.

Two years later, on July 31, 2016, Houle found a note on his fence on Johnson Road. The note read: “Redgy: This is Neil – I really need some information on something we talked about. Call me pls…” The back of the note read “My son and I are in town for a bit.”

Houle assumed this was about growing equipment he had told Cantrill he would be able to provide to him.

The following day Houle met Neil, who was accompanied by his son Stephan and Lowry, at a highway pullout near the Hope Garden Centre past the Fraser River bridge. It was at the pullout where Houle said the assault began, he was beaten and wrestled into the vehicle the three were driving, a white SUV, and driven to a turnout Houle believed to be at Ruby Creek.

Houle said he was repeatedly threatened and told by one of the three men that they believed he was behind a 2012 theft at another grow-op in a property described as the “Dogwood House.” The three said they believed Houle had $1 million buried, which he denied while offering them $5,000. The men then turned to Houle’s Johnson Road home, telling him he would have to turn it over to them.

They then drove to the home, where they proceded to make arrangements to have Houle sign the property over to them. At this point four officers arrived, having been alerted to an assault at the pullout.

Houle was taken to hospital with injuries that included his sinus linings torn, his orbital bone fractured under his right eye, cuts to his forehead and under his right eye as well as a burn on his head caused by a heated spoon he said Neil Cantrill applied during the assault.

During an interview with police, Houle asked to be placed in the RCMP’s witness protection program. He was compensated for living expenses for a year as well as some financial help to relocate, he also sold the Johnson Road home and earned a “substantial profit” on it, according to court documents.

Houle also admitted to having guns illegally stored and loaded at his residence, yet was not charged for this. Police found a loaded shotgun, a handgun, a baton, knives and ammunition in their search of the property, none of which were secured.

Despite his background growing cannabis, illegal at the time, and other criminal activities, Judge Branch deemed the evidence Houle provided about the assault could be relied on.

Read more: Edmonton Hells Angel and associates found guilty of kidnapping, extortion in Hope

The two Cantrills and Lowry are scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 2, 2020.

– with files from Paul Henderson

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
emelie.peacock@hopestandard.com


Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Hells AngelsHope

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lakeland Flowers officially opened on April 14 and the U-pick flower farm has been attracting a lot of attention online. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers blooming for spring

U-pick tulip flower farm generating significant buzz online after opening this month

The charitable organization Mamas for Mamas is hoping to expand its services in Abbotsford. (Photo by Ratna Fitry from Pixabay)
National charity Mamas for Mamas looks to expand services in Abbotsford

Organization supports moms and caregivers facing struggles

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A recent virtual gala raised $150,000 for Abbotsford Hospice Society and its Holmberg House. (Abbotsford Hospice Society photo)
Abbotsford Hospice’s Light Up the Night gala raises almost $150K

Virtual event included pre-show drive-thru pickup of farm-fresh meals

Matthew Balogh was last seen in Abbotsford on Sunday, April 18 at 10 a.m.
Police seek help in locating missing 17-year-old in Abbotsford

Matthew Balogh was last seen at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 18

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

(Aldergrove Star files)
BREAKING: IHIT investigating fatal shooting near Langley Sportsplex

91a Avenue at 200th Street is closed to the public as RCMP investigate

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson leaves the assembly with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Paid sick leave for ‘hard-hit’ workers left out of provincial budget: BCGEU

‘For recovery to be equitable it requires supports for workers, not just business,’ says union president Laird Cronk

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read