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Project DIVIDE nets 26 arrests, drugs, weapons

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/12/2009 (3269 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG — Members of the Manitoba Integrated Organized Crime Task Force, with assistance from more than 300 police officers from the RCMP, Winnipeg Police Service, Brandon Police Service and Ste. Anne Police Service, made 26 arrests and conducted searches today in a culmination of year-long investigations known as Project DIVIDE.

Investigations targeted organized crime and street crime activities that threatened public safety, said Sgt. Line Karpish, media relations officer for the RCMP D Division. “We’re dealing with guns. We’re dealing with drugs. We’re dealing with all kinds of criminal activities,” she said.

As of this afternoon, the names of 24 people were released who had been taken into custody and charged. Police withheld the names of two people taken into custody who had not yet been charged. Eight arrest warrants were still outstanding this afternoon. Upon the execution of all 34 warranted arrests, police will have arrested every member of the Zig Zag Crew in Manitoba, Karpish said.

Altogether, 31 people have been charged from Manitoba and B.C. Among those charged are 33-year-old Sean Sebastian Wolfe, of Winnipeg, who has been connected to the Manitoba Hells Angels, and seven members of the Zig Zag Crew.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/12/2009 (3269 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Police enter a residence in the 2300 block of Pembina Highway.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Police enter a residence in the 2300 block of Pembina Highway.

WINNIPEG — Members of the Manitoba Integrated Organized Crime Task Force, with assistance from more than 300 police officers from the RCMP, Winnipeg Police Service, Brandon Police Service and Ste. Anne Police Service, made 26 arrests and conducted searches today in a culmination of year-long investigations known as Project DIVIDE.

Investigations targeted organized crime and street crime activities that threatened public safety, said Sgt. Line Karpish, media relations officer for the RCMP D Division. "We’re dealing with guns. We’re dealing with drugs. We’re dealing with all kinds of criminal activities," she said.

A Zig-Zag gang vest.

A Zig-Zag gang vest.

As of this afternoon, the names of 24 people were released who had been taken into custody and charged. Police withheld the names of two people taken into custody who had not yet been charged. Eight arrest warrants were still outstanding this afternoon. Upon the execution of all 34 warranted arrests,  police will have arrested every member of the Zig Zag Crew in Manitoba, Karpish said.

Altogether, 31 people have been charged from Manitoba and B.C. Among those charged are 33-year-old Sean Sebastian Wolfe, of Winnipeg, who has been connected to the Manitoba Hells Angels, and seven members of the Zig Zag Crew.

"These organizations are all making money at the expense of the community," said Cst. Jason Michalyshen, public information officer for the Winnipeg Police Service.

Searches done at 23 locations across Manitoba and one in B.C. resulted in several drug seizures including, 165 ounces of cocaine, 12 ounces of methamphetamine, 12,000 ecstasy tablets, one ounce of heroin and seven pounds of marijuana. Money and firearms were also seized.

"We’ve hit the higher level of … members that are affiliated or prospects with the Zig Zag Crew as well as Hells Angels. And by doing so, we know that that’s going to have a trickle-down effect. The impact is huge," said Michalyshen. "We’re going to have less drugs on our streets, we’re going to have less firearms, and ultimately making our community safer. That’s really what it boils down to. We’ve hit the source."

Police would not disclose further details of the investigation, which began in November 2008. Project DIVIDE is ongoing.

"We’re not interested in victory. We’re interested in impact," said Karpish.

Shotgun seized in raid.

Shotgun seized in raid.

 

jennifer.pawluk@freepress.mb.ca

 

Here are the names of the 24 accused who hae been arrested and identified by police.  The names of two others in custody hae not been released, and police are still searchng for eight other accused.


WINNIPEG RESIDENTS
Sean Sebastian Wolfe, 33
Thomas Edward Winget, 25
Corey Lee Gingera, 33
Ronald Guy Normand, 33
Joseph George Ducharme, 33
Wayne Everette Shuttleworth, 39
Craig John Mirus, 28
Timothy Cameron Brown, 21
Ryan Cory Sawatzky, 28                
Steve Douglas Mager, 32
David William Single, 34
Patricia Anne Walsh, 35
Stuart James Richer, 34
George Adrian Ducharme, 24
Dustin Jeremy Barker, 21
Edwin William Panting, 25
Kerry Lorne Adam, 36
Christopher Roger Dheilly, 25
Andrew Gregory Coffin, 24
Jefferson Wilkinson Greaves, 36
Nello Eduardo Chiappetta, 38
Joseph Ronald Desjarlais, 34

BRANDON RESIDENTS
Benjamin Morris Zapata, 27
Aerock Waede Hallberg, 23
 

 A LEGAL HAT TRICK: Here’s a snapshot of the two previous sting operations police have conducted against the Hells Angels.



Project DEFENSE - February 2006

Career criminal Franco Atanasovic was paid $525,000 to infiltrate the Hells Angels for a year, capturing various kilogram-level drug transactions on audio and video surveillance. Many of them occurred in Winnipeg restaurant parking lots. Police arrested 13 suspects, including Hells president Ernie Dew and full-patch members Ian Grant and Jeff Peck.

All of the accused either pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial, with the exception of one man who fled to the Caribbean while on bail and has never been located. The biggest sentence went to Grant, who got 17 years in prison for his crimes.

Atanasovic caused numerous headaches for his police handlers and was recently charged with a major fraud in another Canadian city which occurred while he was in witness protection.  



Project DRILL - December 2007

With the Hells Angels trying to pick up the pieces following Project Defence, police quickly struck again.

Manitoba biker groupie Scotty "Taz" Robertson was given $650,000 for his efforts in capturing numerous crimes on candid camera - including a murder conspiracy that was stopped before it could be executed.

More than 250 police officers arrested 18 Hells Angels and associates in a series of pre-dawn raids in Manitoba, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. Police also uncovered evidence of weapons trafficking from the United States

Several full-patch bikers were arrested, including newly elected president Dale Donovan. Most accused have since pleaded guilty and been sentenced, while a handful of people remain before the courts.
 

 

If you witnessed one of the raids, please email us at city.desk@freepress.mb.ca

Ecstasy seized in raid.

Ecstasy seized in raid.

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History

Updated on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM CST: Adds details of arrests

4:12 PM: Fixes number of arrests

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