Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson's former foster son pleads guilty

Jinagh Navas-Rivas. - CTV News image
Jinagh Navas-Rivas.
— image credit: CTV News image

The former foster son of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson will be spending a minimum of three years in prison for his part in a dial-a-dope-and-gun ring.

Jinagh Navas-Rivas, who lived with the Robertson family for two years until 2009, was one of five suspects arrested following a six-month undercover RCMP investigation that began in the summer of 2011.

Federal Crown Counsel Ernie Froess said Navas-Rivas appeared in Richmond provincial court on Wednesday, where he pled guilty to one count of drug trafficking, and one count of transferring a firearm.

Navas-Rivas is scheduled to be sentenced on March 13, 2013, and is represented by defense counsel Emmet Duncan, who did not return a request for comment. He will be sentenced by Judge Patrick Chen.

Although Froess wouldn't comment on what length of sentence he will be seeking for Navas-Rivas, he noted that a conviction for transferring a firearm carries a mandatory minimum three-year federal sentence.

Last December, The Richmond Review first revealed that Navas-Rivas was caught up in the RCMP investigation, and his link to Robertson.

After investigators were unable to locate Navas-Rivas, an arrest warrant was issued for him, but he did not turn himself in until several days later. He was kept in custody for a few months before being released earlier this year.

Navas-Rivas was charged as part of an 18-count indictment, and has now pled guilty to one count of transferring a .22-calibre Ruger pistol with ammunition without the proper authorization while in a car travelling through New Westminster.

Navas-Rivas was in the care of the Robertson family—including Robertson's wife Amy and three other children—in 2008 and 2009, and was a track athlete while a student at Prince of Wales Secondary in Vancouver.

Amidst the undercover police investigation, and after committing the criminal offence just a day earlier that will send him to jail for three years, Navas-Rivas joined Gregor Robertson on stage on Nov. 19, 2011 during Robertson's victory speech following his successful municipal re-election bid.

On Nov. 18, 2011, Navas-Rivas was with co-accused Leslie James Miller, 30, when he was accused of transferring a firearm and ammunition knowing that he wasn't authorized to do so.

While the RCMP investigation launched in June of 2011, the first charge involving Navas-Rivas occurred many months later, on Nov. 4, and involved the trafficking of cocaine in Vancouver.

Details about how police discovered the dial-a-dope operation, and learned of Navas-Rivas' connection to Robertson, have not yet been revealed in open court. But that's expected to become a part of the public record on his sentencing date next year.

Dial-a-dope operations involve drug dealers who leave a phone number—sometimes on business cards—with users and addicts, and when drugs are sought, arrangements are made by phone about the quantity and type of drugs, and drop-off locations where the drugs are exchanged for cash.

Also charged in the case were: Vingh Hoang (David) Le, Willie Sing Cheung Truong and Kwok Pui (Raymond) Ma.

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