CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

An unprecedented look inside one of the largest drug operations in Newfoundland and Labrador history.

Cocaine. Strip Clubs. Violence. Hints of a Hells Angels connection.

Surveillance. Wiretaps. Covert entries. Arrests. Convictions.

The CBC's David Cochrane was given exclusive access to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officers who ran Roadrunner, and their files.

Here and Now

The Bad Guys

  • Pat Champoux

    • - known as "Big Pat"
    • - came to St. John's in 2004. Had a criminal record, but wasn't on anybody's radar
    • - came to St. Johns to replicate the way the drug industry operated in Montreal
    • - told people he was "here to take over."
  • Pat Dickson

    • - known as "Little Pat"
    • - arrested in Quebec during Operation Springtime 2001
    • - arrived in St. John's spring of 2006 as the money guy, essentially the Chief Financial Officer of the Operation
  • Mike Samson

    • - police describe him originally as very clean, with no criminal record
    • - ran meetings and acted as a courier
    • - police surveillance showed Samson continually being seen with other drug conspirators
  • Mark Kane

    • - boxer
    • - responsible for collecting money, providing drugs to drug traffickers
    • - set up stash houses
    • - directed preparation of drugs for sale
  • John Stanley

    • - well-known local boxing coach
    • - became the operation's top local lieutenant
    • - guy who took care of the money
    • - most of the key evidence came from wiretaps on his phone

In 2006, Pat Champoux returned to Montreal to arrange drug shipments. The money flowed through Dickson, he returned the money by courier. Champoux sent drugs to Dickson; Dickson sent drugs to his distributors; money comes back to Dickson; Dickson sent money back to Montreal.

Police say once Sansom came into the picture they knew they had something.

In January 2007, police notice presence of Stanley and Kane. They were known as big guys, and as quite the boxers. According to RNC Sgt. Tim Hogan, the presence of Stanley and Kane meant Champoux is hands off, Dickson is hands off, and Stanley and Kane are the fall guys.

The Good Guys

  • Robert Johnston

    • - deputy chief of Criminal Operations, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary at the time of Operation Roadrunner
  • Jason Sheppard

    • - Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Sgt. who was the lead investigator on Operation Roadrunner
    • - travelled to other provinces to establish liaisons with other police forces
  • Tim Hogan

    • - Royal Newfoundland Constabulary investigator assigned to the Operation Roadrunner file
    • - drafted and wrote search warrants, searched for phone records
    • - conducted covert entries at ferry terminals, airlines and stash houses
  • Sgt. Eric Vecchio

    • - veteran Montreal police officer with extensive experience investigating organized crime
    • - arrested Pat Champoux
  • Det. Sgt. Nick Milano

    • - been on the Montreal police drug squad since 1994
    • - assisted RNC Jason Sheppard with investigation

Cocaine: the drug of choice

Cocaine Infographic

Scenes of the crime

Scenes Infographic