Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/12/2009 (4437 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
One target of a major undercover police sting operation was a former Manitoba RCMP officer who gave up the badge and later became a high-ranking Hells Angels associate, according to court documents obtained by the Free Press.
Wayne Shuttleworth hid his policing past from fellow Zig Zag Crew members, knowing it would be an automatic ticket to rejection from the gang. But his secret became public on Thursday after a series of arrest warrants was filed with the Court of Queen's Bench.
The documents revealed numerous aspects of Project DIVIDE, the 13-month organized crime probe that relied heavily on the services of a former gang member-turned police informant known only as "Agent 22." The identity of the informant hasn't been disclosed publicly, but it was not Shuttleworth. The informant is currently being relocated under witness protection.
Cpl. Jonathan Morrisseau, of Manitoba's Integrated Organized Crime Task Force, wrote in an affidavit the investigation targeted "upper-echelon drug dealers and their associates in Winnipeg, Surrey and Burnaby, B.C." Police authorized the arrests this week of 34 suspects -- at least half are Zig Zag members -- and executed two dozen search warrants at various locations, including the Hells Angels Scotia Street clubhouse. More than 300 RCMP and police from Winnipeg, Brandon, Ste. Anne and B.C. were involved.
Shuttleworth, 39, was arrested at his Ross Avenue home early Wednesday by heavily armed members of the police emergency response team. He has been charged with participating in a criminal organization, trafficking a firearm, possession of proceeds of crime and conspiracy to launder money.
Police identified Shuttleworth in court documents as a full-patch member of the Zig Zag Crew, the so-called puppet club of the Hells Angels. The documents say Shuttleworth was an RCMP officer between 1991 and 1994, who had extensive firearm training and "an ongoing interest in firearms." Shuttleworth allegedly had various conversations with the police agent in which he discussed having a connection on the Sandy Bay Indian Reserve that would allow him to purchase firearms. He allegedly told the agent to never pull a gun out "unless you're gonna use it."
Police records show Shuttleworth had registered a 12-gauge shotgun and .22-calibre semi-automatic rifle, which were believed to be in his home. That caused investigators some anxiety when asking the court to obtain a "no-knock" warrant that allowed them to storm inside Shuttleworth's home without warning.
One of the other big catches for police was full-patch Hells Angels member Sean Wolfe, along with his half-brother, David Single, and his half-sister, Patricia Walsh. The trio was allegedly involved in several significant cocaine deals.
Walsh, 37, was in tears during her initial court appearance Thursday afternoon. She claimed to have no criminal involvement or understanding of why she'd been arrested.
Crown attorney Chris Mainella told court Walsh is accused of seven separate cocaine transactions and six counts of possessing proceeds of crime. Her arrest warrant includes allegations she drove her two young children to school before heading to a meeting with an undercover RCMP officer, who was sold seven ounces of cocaine back in April.
Police alleged Single met with the agent at the Tuxedo Park Shopping Centre to discuss a drug deal. Police say other transactions were done in the parking lots of various Winnipeg restaurants and stores throughout the operation.
Police describe Wolfe in court documents "as a person one should not cross."
"He is not only highly respected but feared by numerous individuals and has the propensity to resort to violence," Morrisseau wrote in his affidavit. He cited numerous examples of Hells Angels intimidation, which included another suspect warning the police agent to pay a $500 debt or face serious consequences.
Police also arrested the sergeant-at-arms of the Manitoba Hells Angels, Thomas Winget.
He allegedly told the agent last spring he had access to a "soft body armour vest and that he could obtain explosives from an ex-military member." Winget allegedly claimed he wanted revenge on a group of men who attacked him in a Winnipeg bar and warned that it would "be ugly."
Police documents also reveal one of the targets, Christopher Dheilly, allegedly offered to sell the agent a handgun and silencer in September. The agent declined.
The agent was flown to British Columbia earlier this year to meet with two gang associates interested in purchasing firearms.
Discussions were held in a Vancouver restaurant -- and secretly monitored by police -- about sending the firearms "through the mail." One of the accused, Eric Sandberg, allegedly claimed he could acquire any type of gun the agent wanted and spoke of plans to "wipe out all of the competition in Surrey."
Police seized a total of 165 ounces of cocaine, 12 ounces of methamphetamine, 12,000 ecstasy tablets, one ounce of heroin and seven pounds of marijuana during their investigation, along with an undisclosed quantity of money, firearms and gang paraphernalia.
Police said Thursday they are still seeking four of the 34 suspects on warrants. They include Winnipeg residents Bruce Brown, 43, Lloyd Jansen, 38 and Blair Alford, 55, along with Selkirk resident Gerald Russell Frommelt, 25.
All of those arrested remain in custody and have adjourned their cases until Jan. 13.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.