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Former soldier pleads guilty to killing B.C. gangster in Thailand

Matthew Dupre entered the guilty plea on what was supposed to be the first day of his trial

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A former member of the Canadian military has pleaded guilty in Bangkok to his involvement in the February 2022 murder of longtime B.C. gangster Jimi Sandhu.

Matthew Dupre, of Sylvan Lake, Alberta, entered the guilty plea on what was supposed to be the first day of his trial in the Thai capital on June 27.

Sgt. Brenda Winpenny, of the anti-gang Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, confirmed that Dupre had admitted his role in the dramatic targeted hit at a beachfront resort on the island of Phuket.

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The shooting was captured on CCTV footage in a parking area at the Beachfront Hotel in Phuket. At the time, Sandhu was staying in a private waterfront villa beside the hotel. Fake Canadian identification and cash were found in the villa.


Watch: The moment B.C. gangster Jimi Sandhu was killed in Thailand

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B.C. anti-gang officers had investigated elements of the murder conspiracy, believed to have been hatched in Canada.

“The guilty plea in relation to the murder of Sandhu in Thailand speaks to the capabilities of CFSEU-B.C. when it comes to complex international investigations connected to the gang landscape and our ability to assist local and international agencies to advance investigations and hold individuals accountable,” Winpenny said Tuesday.

She said she couldn’t comment on whether there was still an active investigation in Canada.

Postmedia travelled to Thailand in December 2022 to investigate the murder of Sandhu, a United Nations gang member who grew up in Abbotsford but was deported to India in 2016 for serious criminality.

Site of Jimi Sandhu murder in Phuket
Police investigating the Feb. 4, 2022 shooting death of Jimi Sandhu. Eakkapop Thongtub / Chalong Police Photo by Eakkapop Thongtub / Chalong Poli /jpg

The Sandhu murder was plotted by the Canadian-based Wolfpack gang, Postmedia reported.

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Within days of the murder, police searched Dupre’s Alberta home, the Trail residence of co-accused Gene Lahrkamp, who died while in hiding, and at the Ontario home of a third suspect, who was never charged.

Dupre agreed to be extradited in May 2023 and has been in custody there over the past 14 months. Thailand had already waived the death penalty in the high-profile case.

The evidence cited by Thai Royal Police to Postmedia included surveillance video from around Phuket showing the suspects, car rental and hotel records, as well as DNA and fingerprints.

Dupre and his Lahrkamp his former army buddy arrived together at Phuket International Airport on Dec. 18, 2021. Both returned to Canada on Feb. 8, 2022 and within days were identified as murder suspects. Lahrkamp disappeared and died aboard a four-seater Piper PA 28-140 plane that crashed near Sioux Lookout, Ontario on April 30, 2022.

Both had left the Canadian Armed Forces as corporals. Dupre served from 2005 to 2013 and Lahrkamp was a soldier from 2012 to 2018.

matthew dupre extradited
Thailand’s National Police Chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas (right) speaks during a press conference on receiving Canadian contract killer Matthew Dupre, extradited from Canada to Thailand on a charge of murdering Canadian gangster Jimi “Slice” Sandhu in Phuket on Feb. 4, 2022, as his image appears on a screen, in Bangkok, Thailand, May 29, 2023. Photo by Athit Perawongmetha /REUTERS

Dupre’s LinkedIn page said he was engaged in combat with the Taliban in Afghanistan before he left the military. He later worked as a private military contractor in Syria and Iraq, where he said he was involved in battles with ISIS. His posted list of skills includes “hand to hand combat, unconventional warfare and sharpshooter.”

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Sandhu, 32, had been travelling in and out of Phuket since 2016. At the time of his death, he was wanted in India for trafficking, had just been banned from Malaysia, and had spent stretches of time in Vietnam.

He rented the villa where he died in November 2021, but left Phuket around Christmas 2021. He was spotted at a fancy New Year’s Eve party at the five-star Amari Watergate Hotel in the centre of Bangkok before leaving the country. He returned Jan. 27, eight days before his murder, flying in on a private jet from Malaysia.

Thai police told Postmedia that he had also been spending time and was believed to be involved in the drug trade throughout Southeast Asia.


Watch: A villa and the beach route two killers took after opening fire on a B.C. gangster

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