Three men have been charged in relation to the 2017 fatal shooting of Alexander Blanarou in Abbotsford.
Blanarou, 24, of Surrey was shot to death on Dec. 28, 2017 just before 2:30 p.m. in the 5300 block of Bates Road, south of Harris Road. Police arrived on scene to find his body in a nearby blueberry field.
Investigators at the time said Blanarou was known to police and his death was believed to be a targeted hit.
Blanarou was identified in April 2016 by Bill Fordy – then Surrey RCMP’s officer in charge – as one of two people who had recently been arrested by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit for their involvement in the “drug conflict.”
Fordy said at the time that Blanarou had been facing six drug and gun charges.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) announced on Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 1) that Islam Nagem and Edrick Raju have each been charged with first-degree murder, while Michael Schweiger has been charged with second degree-murder.
Michelle Tansey, operations support officer for IHIT, thanked the team of investigators for bringing the case together.
“IHIT received tremendous support from APD (Abbotsford Police Department) and our other police partners whose contributions were integral to (the) outcome,” he said.
Insp. Colin Thomson, officer in charge of the APD criminal investigation branch, thanked IHIT for “their or their commitment and dedication in the pursuit of justice for families and victims.”
“The arrests made for Alexander Blanarou’s murder serves as another great example of collaboration between different police agencies,” he said.
Neither Nagem nor Raju has any prior criminal charges listed in the provincial court database.
But Schweiger has prior convictions for break-and-enter and occupying a vehicle knowing a firearm was present in Kelowna in 2015; stealing a vehicle, possessing an unauthorized firearm, driving while prohibited, and driving without due care and attention in Chilliwack in June 2018; and two counts of robbery and possession of stolen property in Vernon in August 2018.
No further details are being released about the murder investigation.