One of Manitoba's most notorious gangsters is getting glowing reviews from parole officials for seemingly turning his life around after being released from prison a decade early.
Ian Grant was sentenced in 2007 to 15 years in custody for his role in an elaborate drug operation that was busted in an undercover police sting.
Grant, 37, walked out of prison in July 2012, thanks to a successful day-parole application that allows him to spend his days in the community and his nights in a halfway house. Now six months into his early taste of freedom, the National Parole Board is applauding Grant for his progress.
"You have made excellent progress in the community, and it is evidence that you have used your time to build the foundation for a pro-social lifestyle," parole officials wrote in documents obtained Tuesday by the Free Press. Grant's supervisors reported no issues during the first six months of his day parole and approved continuing it six months more. Provided there are no breaches, officials say they would recommend full parole at his next hearing later this year.
The parole board says Grant has found employment since being released, attended several treatment programs and upgraded his education online.
He has also explored speaking engagements and volunteer opportunities.
Grant's most dramatic move to date involved strolling into a Winnipeg tattoo parlour and having his Hells Angels ink "dated," which signifies the official end of a member's association. The physically imposing Grant also turned heads by "confronting" other Hells members and associates while in prison to let them know he was out of the gang, according to the parole board.
He has followed parole conditions that forbid any contact with his former criminal cohorts and using drugs and alcohol. But parole officials caution it is too early to proclaim Grant a completely changed man.
Grant has been rated a low risk to reoffend, but police in Manitoba opposed his release. He is an excellent public speaker and has above-average intelligence, acting as his own lawyer at his trial.
For those reasons, sources say, police have been watching him closely, knowing any parole breaches would land him back behind bars, where he could be forced to serve the remaining 10 years of his sentence.