Calgary man who beat murder charges arrested in $1M drug bust

A Calgary man who walked away from drug importation and murder charges twice in the past two years is again facing charges after police seized about $1 million in fentanyl and ketamine.

Joshua Lloyd Okabe, 33, is facing seven charges, including four drug trafficking offences, and police say the large-scale operation is connected to recent shootings and violence in Calgary. 

The gang enforcement unit executed a search warrant at an apartment on Riverfront Avenue last month and seized nearly 4,500 grams of fentanyl and 970 grams of ketamine as well as other drugs and production equipment.

Okabe is set to go to trial Monday on other fentanyl production and trafficking offences stemming from 2016 charges.

During the execution of the search warrant in August, Okabe tried to flee the scene and was arrested after an "extensive struggle," according to police.

Okabe is currently in custody at the Calgary Remand Centre. Defence lawyer Kim Ross says he hasn't set a date for a bail hearing. 

According to police, the apartment was being used for "large-scale drug storage" packaging and production.

Darwin Buccat, 23, is also charged with drug trafficking in connection with the August drug bust.

Murder charges

Okabe and two others were accused of conspiring to import massive amounts of cocaine from the Dominican Republic but their charges were stayed in June because of an unreasonable delay in getting the case to trial.

In 2014, Okabe was charged in a murder-for-hire plot that resulted in the death of suspected meth-dealing kingpin Jason Antonio.

He also faced a second first-degree murder charge for the 2015 killing of accused drug trafficker Taylor Zanoni.

In 2017, the charges were stayed after prosecutors determined there was "no reasonable likelihood of conviction."