An Abbotsford police officer has been charged with breach of trust, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to traffic a controlled substance, police announced Tuesday.
Constable Christopher Nicholson, who has been with the Abbotsford police since 2005, was arrested by Vancouver police on Monday. He was set to appear in a Vancouver court Tuesday afternoon.
In July 2012, two Abbotsford police officers received word that another officer had leaked information to a suspect so that individual could avoid being arrested by the department, Chief Constable Bob Rich of the Abbotsford police said at a news conference in Vancouver.
Vancouver police were called in by their Abbotsford counterparts last August to take over the investigation, which spanned eight months and included dozens of officers, including senior investigators with gang and homicide experience.
According to Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu, investigators soon believed that Constable Nicholson was also providing false information to other police officers, who used the information to obtain search warrants.
"That false information was providing other police officers with the reasonable and probable grounds to obtain search warrants for drugs for private dwellings," he said.
Chief Chu said Constable Nicholson also allegedly conspired with a confidential informant to have drugs delivered to a residence and have fellow officers conduct a search warrant.
"Since we believe that Christopher Nicholson had knowledge of the drug transaction and was an active participant in the transaction, a charge of conspiracy to traffic a controlled substance has been laid," he said.
When asked by a reporter whether the officer allegedly leaked information to some drug dealers to benefit other drug dealers, Chief Chu responded: "Whatever the motives, I can't comment on this right now."
He said that he does not believe other officers were "complicit" in the case, but the investigation will continue over the next several months. He said the investigative team is preparing more charges relating to the falsifying of information provided to the justice system.
Abbotsford Chief Bob Rich added that it was "a bad day" for his department.
"If the facts are proven to be true, it appears that not only did Christopher Nicholson mislead the justice system, but he also put the lives and reputations of other police officers at risk," he said.