A member of a prominent Winnipeg hip-hop group is behind bars after being arrested on drug and weapons charges.
William Keith Pierson, known as "Jon-C" from Winnipeg's Most, is accused of a long list of offences, including ones under the Body Armour and Fortified Vehicle Control Act.
Members of the Winnipeg Police Service street crime unit and the tactical support team executed a search warrant at a residence in the 200 block of Lansdowne Avenue about 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Police found 1.07 ounces of powder cocaine, six grams of cannabis marijuana, cellphones, packaging material, currency and body armour. The drugs had a street value of $2,460.
News of his arrest has resonated with some fans of the group through social media.
"Free the general. You will never silence our voices. Big (expletive) you goes out to the Winnipeg police," a supporter posted on Pierson's Twitter account.
Winnipeg's Most took home several honours at the 2011 Aboriginal People's Choice Music Awards, including best group and best rap/hip-hop CD. They were in the news last week when members announced they had purchased headstones to honour two high-profile homicide victims in the city.
The body of Carolyn Sinclair was found near a dumpster last March in a case that has been linked to alleged serial killer Shawn Lamb. Divas Boulanger was killed and dumped near a rest stop in Portage la Prairie in 2004. Both will now have permanent gravesite markers.
Heatbag Records, the label behind Winnipeg's Most, is no stranger to controversy. In 2008, some of the group were linked to a series of violent incidents and posted a YouTube video in which they made explicit threats against musical rivals and showed off what appeared to be a large arsenal of high-powered weapons.
A half-dozen young men posed for the camera, handguns visible in their waistbands, and warned of retribution against a "rat." The video then flashed to a graphic shot of a dead rodent in a trap. There were numerous references to shootings, graves, coffins and snitches, often spliced in with images of several guns spread out on a table.
One of the founding members of Heatbag, Charlie Fettah, told the Free Press at the time the controversy was overblown. He said he was being unfairly targeted after recently being released from prison, where he was being held on drug offences. Fettah is now a member of Winnipeg's Most, along with Pierson.