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This article was published 26/7/2013 (2372 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The last remaining member of the Manitoba outlaw biker gang Rock Machine was given a long prison sentence this morning for his role in the city’s illegal drug and weapons trade.
Cameron Adam Hemminger, 42, was given an eight-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking cocaine and guns.
Hemminger was one of four active Rock Machine members caught up in a lengthy RCMP investigation last year that resulted in the arrest of all the gang members and several independent cocaine dealers who dealt with the gang.
One of the gang members agreed to work as an "agent" for the RCMP, and conducted deals for drugs and guns with the other members while under surveillance and being recorded.
The gang members and their team of dealers were arrested at the end of January in what the RCMP called Project Dilemma.
The other gang members received sentences ranging from 9 to 12 years.
The dealers have all pleaded guilty, with two waiting to be sentenced and the others getting sentences of five to six years.
The "agent" is now living outside the province in a witness protection program.
Justice Brenda Keyser accepted the joint Crown and defence recommendation for the eight year-sentence, a plea deal that recognized Hemminger pleaded guilty, which avoided the necessity of a lengthy and expensive trial.
Crown prosecutor Michael Desautels said Hemminger had only become a full-patch member of the Rock Machine in October, after spending the previous year as a prospect.
Defence counsel Barry Sinder said that Hemminger had a good job as a heavy equipment operator for several years but turned to crime after his wife was bedridden with lupus for two years.
Hemminger’s wife and two young children, aged 16 and 8, were in court this morning.
Sinder said Hemminger has now turned his back on the criminal life and hopes to return to work when his prison time is up.
Hemminger said he recognized that he made a "mistake" in joining the Rock Machine and hoped to make it up to his family for what he had done.
Keyser said that had it not been for the plea arrangement, Hemminger deserved a longer sentence.
Hemminger joined the Rock Machine because he believed it shielded him from police scrutiny, Keyser said, adding it wasn’t "just a mistake. This is a lifestyle change you made very deliberately.
"People like you are a scourge on society."
Keyser gave Hemminger credit for the six months spent in custody since his arrest, leaving him to serve the remaining seven and a half years.
Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.