Tuesday 5 May 2015


As I mentioned in our last blog posting on April 24th, Ken McIntosh and I have always wondered why Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan (murdered in New Westminster, British Columbia, in a likely Mafia hit on March 21, 1966) had no big amounts of cash in his possession when he was arrested a few days before Christmas 1965. After all, according to deceased journalist Dennis Bell (who had his contacts within the police forces involved in MacLauchlan’s bust for narcotics trafficking ), MacLauchlan was the Number 2 Man in the West Coast narcotics trafficking organization. So why was no vast amount of money found in the little bungalow at 912 Fifth Street shared by the doctor and Margaret Ann Cunningham?
After all, it was reported that he had $200,000 worth of heroin in his possession when he and Margaret, along with associates Joe Sperling and Thelma Mosier, were arrested on December 22nd. However, the only money anywhere in sight on that winter afternoon was $2700 that Sperling had on him when he was taken down by Sgt Bunyk (RCMP Narcotics Squad) and Constable D L Roberts (Vancouver Narcotics Squad). None of the press reports mentioned anything about money being found by the police -- on MacLauchlan, in his possession or in the house that he and Cunningham had shared for almost a decade (first as “uncle and niece” and later as husband and wife).
Then one of our regular correspondents, a person who over the years has amassed an impressive knowledge of Canada’s criminal elements through steady and painstaking research, suggested that perhaps Ken and I have been wrong to think of MacLauchlan as being the Number 2 man in the organization in the ordinary sense.
Our correspondent wondered if, rather than being Number 2 in the west coast hierarchy, the doctor had been the Number 2 representative of the “powers that be” out of Montreal. By that phrase he was referring to such men in Montreal as Lucien Rivard, the Cotroni Brothers, and Paolo Violi. 
Somewhat contradicting such an explanation, however, is this reality: wouldn’t Sperling have had to pay for what was found on him -- “ten one ounce bundles of brown powder which analyzed as fairly good grade of 63.5 per cent heroin with the potential value of $120,000”,  as reported in the Court testimony of Sgt Bunyk?
Our correspondent counters this line of reasoning by presenting the possibility that MacLauchlan, for all his alleged stature in the organization, never had money at 912 Fifth Street. 
“Getting back to the bust at the house I think either the money was never held there or, by some twist of fate, it had already gone to pay the bill. Perhaps the money collected by [Thelma Mosier] and [Sperling] was ... kept at a remote location for some [similar] reason...” With this statement, our correspondent is referring to the fact that Thelma Mosier had no money in her possession either when she was arrested.
Our correspondent also raised another point, mentioning that, in the 1976 book Canadian Connection, Author Jean-Pierre Charbonneau relates how Greyhound was sometimes used to transport drugs from Montreal to the West Coast. He ends his letter by wondering if the New Westminster bus depot, which for years was located in the Royal Towers on Sixth Street, might have been a convenient location to send a bagman east or drugs west during the 1960s.

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