The president of the Manitoba Rock Machine has been sentenced to nine years in prison following an undercover sting operation earlier this year.
Joseph Strachan, 42, pleaded guilty today to drug and gang-related charges as part of a plea-bargain struck with justice officials.
RCMP essentially took the entire Winnipeg-based chapter of the notorious biker gang into custody following a series of raids in February. A total of 11 people were charged, and Strachan is one of the first and certainly the most prolific to deal with his charges.
The investigation, formally known as Project Dilemma, began last August, and specifically targeted the Rock Machine, a small outlaw biker gang that has been trying to pick up the pieces of the illicit drug trade since the Hells Angels were rounded up in a similar Winnipeg police investigation.
In a show of police bravado, much of what the RCMP seized was on display during a news conference at the Portage Avenue headquarters: pipe bombs, other explosives, handguns, sawed-off shotguns and ammunition, several pounds of cocaine and marijuana, 1,800 tablets of BZP, a synthetic ecstasy, boxes of cash, and Rock Machine hoodies, patches and other gang clothing.
It was believed the Rock Machine had been embroiled in a war with the Hells Angels, which reached its zenith in 2011 with brazen public shootings and bombings. The Winnipeg police essentially broke up the Hells Angels last year with Project Flatlined, arresting 11 prominent members and associates in March 2012 and seven others in the weeks following.