Police have made a second arrest in connection with the killing of a man whose image has become linked with the Rob Ford drug video controversy.
Hanad Mohamed of Toronto, 23, has been arrested in Alberta and charged with first-degree murder in the March 28 fatal shooting of Anthony Smith in downtown Toronto.
Another man, Nisar Hashimi, also 23, has already been charged with first-degree murder in the case.
Mr. Mohamed was arrested by the RCMP in Fort McMurray, Alta., on Friday, one week after a Canada-wide warrant was issued for his arrest, the Toronto homicide squad said.
“We assisted on the file, it was a Toronto police investigation,” said Constable Christina Wilkins, a spokeswoman for the RCMP in Fort McMurray. She said the arrest was made “at a residence in Fort McMurray,” but declined to say where.
Sources familiar with the investigation said detectives have obtained search warrants for Mr. Mohamed’s cellphone and homes and are looking for at least one other suspect.
Mr. Mohamed is expected to be transported to Toronto on Thursday in the custody of the Toronto Police Service, with a court appearance set for Old City Hall on Friday.
The arrest follows nearly two weeks of drama at City Hall, after the publication of stories that an alleged video had been shown to reporters depicting what appeared to be Mr. Ford smoking crack cocaine.
The ensuing controversy has seen the resignations of two key staff members in the mayor’s inner circle, and repeated calls from city politicians and civic leaders for Mr. Ford to address the allegations more directly.
An image of Mr. Ford with his arm around a man believed to be Mr. Smith has been widely circulated along with the reports. An editor at Gawker, the website that first broke the news of the alleged video, said he was shown the photo by the video’s owners “as evidence” of Mr. Ford’s ties to the drug scene. Mr. Ford has since denied that he uses crack cocaine, and said that no such video exists.
Asked about the photograph on a call-in radio program last weekend, Mayor Ford said he did not know Mr. Smith, adding “I take pictures with everyone.”
More recently, sources told The Globe that a senior member of Mr. Ford’s office had been interviewed in connection with a tip regarding the alleged video. According to the sources, a tipster in the mayor’s office claimed to know the address and unit number where the video was held, and went on to say that the video’s original owner might have been killed for its potentially valuable contents.
The alleged video’s owners reportedly wanted “six figures,” which neither Gawker, nor the Toronto Star (who were also approached with the alleged video), were prepared to pay. Gawker has since raised $200,000 through an online campaign to purchase the video, but said it has so far been unable to contact the owners.
Media reports said the alleged video owners were drug dealers from Toronto’s Somali community.
In recent years, dozens of young men from that community have been killed after becoming involved in the drug trade in Ontario and Alberta.
Mr. Smith was gunned down at the corner of King Street West and Portland Street. A second man who was with Mr. Smith at the time of the shooting survived.
Police at the time said they believed Mr. Smith’s killing was a targeted hit.