A high-ranking Manitoba biker has become the first casualty in an all-out police blitz against the Rock Machine.
John Adam Curwin, 31, pleaded guilty to several charges of gun and drug trafficking Wednesday, less than three months after he and 10 fellow members were arrested as part of a major undercover sting operation.
Curwin was given a nine-and-a-half year prison sentence under a joint-recommendation from Crown and defence lawyers, in addition to his time already spent in custody.
"We have someone here who is engrained in the criminal organization lifestyle," said prosecutor Mike Desautels. Curwin was previously a member of the Bandidos gang but patched over to the Rock Machine when they began to establish a presence in the city a few years ago, court was told.
The Rock Machine have 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 in early 2012 with "Project Flatlined", arresting 18 prominent members and associates.
In this case, dubbed "Project Dilemma", police turned their focus to the Rock Machine and utilized the services of an undercover agent who helped capture illegal activity on audio and video surveillance. Curwin admitted Wednesday to selling guns and benzylpiperazine (BZP) on behalf of the gang, while also being in possession of a stick of dynamite at the time of his arrest in January.
The police investigation began last August and culminated in a series of raids where police seized 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.
The other 10 Rock Machine accused remain before the courts.