- 2015 Federal Election
West Kelowna Murder victim connected to infamous cross-border smuggling case
Jeremy Snow was jailed as one of two young helicopter pilots to attempt daring solo flights smuggling drugs from Canada to the United States
The RCMP Major Crimes Unit has confirmed the identity of the two victims involved in the West Kelowna double homicide, one of whom is connected to an infamous anti-trafficking operation known as Operation Blade Runner.
Tiffany June Goruk, 30, and Jeremy Daniel Snow, 33, both from West Kelowna, were found dead inside an SUV Monday night after the vehicle crashed into the side of the Terravita condo complex in West Kelowna, careening into a lamppost along the way.
Shortly after arriving on scene at approximately 11 p.m., West Kelowna RCMP discovered the deaths were not due to the crash, but rather, that the two had been murdered. The RCMP Major Crimes Unit was called in to assist.
Goruk, a mother of two young boys, did not have a criminal record, but police confirmed Snow served time in the United States after being arrested and convicted of drug offences for his involvement in a helicopter drug smuggling operation busted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and RCMP in 2009.
Operation Blade Runner, as the joint operation was known, began with a routine traffic stop by the Utah Highway Patrol in Salt Lake City, which ended in the seizure of 83 kilograms of cocaine and the arrest of two men—50-year-old Leonard Ferris, of Nevada, and 53-year-old Ross Legge, of Alberta—the Kelowna Capital News sister paper, the Revelstoke Times Review, reported at the time.
Information from that arrest lead to a sting that took down 24-year-old Revelstoke mountain bike enthusiast Samuel Brown, a young man who lived and died on the edge.
Brown was known in the mountain bike community as an aggressive rider and trail builder, and the man behind a hamster wheel-like contraption called the Disconstructed Wheel, which was featured in the bike film New World Disorder 3.
His death received national news coverage after he killed himself in a suicide-proof American jail cell just days after his arrest.
He was new to smuggling and his involvement in the drug ring became the focus of a CBC Fifth Estate program titled Over The Edge.
Brown's arrest occurred on Feb. 23, 2009 and he died four days later. He was arrested flying solo to make a drop at a remote location in Colville, Washington. It would only be two more weeks, on Mar. 5, 2009, that Snow would be arrested attempting the same style of drug drop, flying into a remote location in Idaho.
Then 29 years old, the Kelowna man was arrested after touching down with 79 kilograms of marijuana attached to the bottom of his Robinson R22 helicopter, The Times Review reported. His helicopter took off just outside Nelson, the law enforcement team discovered, and soon four other Canadians were under arrest for their involvement in the ring.
Sean Doak, a 35-year-old from Salmon Arm, B.C., was arrested and his parole for a previous conviction revoked as a result of his connection to the case. Adam Serrano, Colin Hugh Martin and James Cameron were all arrested and all still face charges in the United States, the Vancouver Sun reported Wednesday.
The article in the Sun indicated Doak was to have been extradited last Friday, but remains in Canada as he is appealing the order.
Friends of Tiffany Goruk, meanwhile, have posted a brief message asking for kind words on the social media site Facebook, along with a picture of a broken heart.
Several hundred people have been added to the site as friends, thus far, and comments have been pouring in since midday Wednesday.
"Rest in paradise Tiffany. I will always remember your beautiful heart. Our thoughts and prayers go out to your family, your gorgeous sons and Kevin. We will never forget you," wrote Jade Montgomery.
"I'm literally in shock right now. i haven't seen you in a year, but I will never forget you! My heart breaks for your family and your boys. We had some good laughs. You will be missed," commented Rhonda Derickson.
A series of pictures of the young woman have also been posted on the page.
Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said investigators are advising the general public that the murders are not believed to be a random act and noted there is not a direct threat to the general public.
Investigators are continuing with their request for public assistance and have set up a designated tip line for information: 1-888-688-4264.