Victim was one of city's crime elites: Cops

By ,Ottawa Sun

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An Ottawa Police source describes Graham Thomas as being high on the totem pole of the city's crime elite.

If that was the case, Jason Chapman, was somewhere around the middle.

Little is known about the latter of the two murder victims — Chapman, who sources say was a "mid-level" drug dealer, has a few priors for possession and trafficking as well as impaired driving.

Investigators are trying to figure out why the two men were together at Thomas' salon.

They say they're looking at "all avenues" including whether it was a mob hit or a drug hit.

Spokesman Marc Soucy said investigators are still trying to work out a motive for the killing and are actively looking for a suspect.

Thomas first made the papers in the city in 2000 when he was nabbed in a major cocaine sweep called Project Cape. Then just 23 years-old, Thomas pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to traffic cocaine and a weapons charge.

He was arrested in Toronto when cops found concealed weapons in his car following a pair of meetings with representatives of the Hells Angels' Sherbrooke chapter.

One of 70 people arrested, he received a 2 1/2-year sentence minus time served for the offences.

The 16-month operation netted more than $800,000 in drugs, stolen property and cash along with 27 firearms — including several machine guns and Outlaws gang gear.

Sources aren't sure if Thomas' murder was drug-related or mob related. He was also widely suspected as a money launderer. At any rate, they don't believe his killing was the start of a series of violent acts.

"Nope. I would say the end of something," said a police source. "Surprises me it took this long."

Thomas was not only known to police in a bad sense but also in a familiar sense — it nearly cost one of them his job.

When Const. Daniel Bargh embraced Thomas, then identified a group of cops sitting in a Kanata bar on a September night two years ago, he ended up getting demoted.

Bargh was charged under the Police Services Act with discreditable conduct for his alleged association with Thomas.

Under questioning from prosecutor Lynda Bordeleau, a fellow cop and three other witnesses testified that Bargh greeted Thomas with a "big shoulder clasp" in Moxie's Classic Grill the night of Sept. 18, 2008.

"They looked like old friends," the officer testified.

Const. Ryan O'Neil said he saw Bargh speaking into Thomas' ear, then watched as Thomas turned his attention to the group of about nine police officers, who were in plain clothes.

Sgt. John Ferguson said it became obvious they'd been identified when Thomas' wife snarled at them as they left the bar.

"'We know you're cops, we know you're f---ing cops,' that made it pretty clear," Ferguson said.

Major Crime investigators said the killings were not a random act and as of Thursday night had no suspects.