Manitoba justice officials struck their latest blow against organized crime Wednesday when the deposed leader of the Hells Angels was hauled off to prison to begin serving a lengthy sentence.

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This article was published 11/3/2009 (4859 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Manitoba justice officials struck their latest blow against organized crime Wednesday when the deposed leader of the Hells Angels was hauled off to prison to begin serving a lengthy sentence.

Dale "Deli" Donovan became the latest casualty of a crime crackdown, receiving eight-and-half years behind bars for his role in a massive drug- trafficking network that was busted by a 2007 year-long undercover police investigation.

Donovan follows in the footsteps of former local chapter president Ernie Dew, who is serving a 13-year sentence following his arrest in a similar 2006 police sting.

More than 30 gang members and associates have been arrested in the two sweeps, which utilized the services of career criminals turned undercover police agents. Only a handful of the accused remain before the courts.

Donovan was convicted of several charges, including conspiracy to traffic drugs, possession of proceeds of crime and participating in a criminal organization.

Crown attorney Chris Mainella told court Donovan played several roles in the local organized crime scene. He was an "umpire" to feuding felons and a "tax collector" to people he authorized to sell marijuana and cocaine at various locales throughout Manitoba, such as native reserves and northern communities.

Donovan was also trying to recruit people into a criminal lifestyle, Mainella said.

Donovan's activities were being closely monitored by police during their Project Drill. Longtime criminal Scotty "Taz" Robertson was able to infiltrate the gang and conduct a series of drug and weapons deals that investigators caught on video and audio surveillance.

Robertson was paid more than $600,000 for his work and put in the witness protection program. During the investigation, police seized five machine-guns, three handguns, 11 kilograms of cocaine, 2,000 tablets of methamphetamine and 13 pounds of marijuana. They also broke up a murder-for-hire plot in Thompson.

More than 250 police officers across the country were involved in the arrests of 17 accused, which also involved arrests of full-patch Hells Angels members in B.C. and Ontario.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

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.