Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Last Project Drill drug dealer sentenced to 8.5 years

Wayne Holmes didn’t want anything to do with the Hells Angels, but in the end his relationship with one of the outlaw biker gang’s long-time associates was his undoing.
Holmes, 52, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic in cocaine and was sentenced Wednesday to 81/2 years in prison.
Holmes was among 18 people arrested in December 2007 as part of Project Drill, a undercover police investigation targeting the Hells Angels and its associates.
As in similar investigations before and since, Operation Drill relied on the use of a paid agent — in this case, career criminal and biker associate Scott (Taz) Robertson — to ensnare the criminal targets.
Court heard Robertson put the word out he was unsatisfied with the poor quality cocaine he was buying from Hells Angels associate Allen Morrison and was looking for a new supplier.
Enter Al Lebras, a Hells Angels “prospect” and long-time drug dealer. Lebras negotiated three cocaine deals with Robertson worth $61,000.
Holmes — who had no gang ties himself but was Lebras’ drug-dealing partner — delivered the drugs while another man accepted the cash. The drug deals were all caught on police video and audio.
“It’s effectively Mr. Morrison’s doing that gets Mr. Lebras and Mr. Holmes caught in the net,” said Crown attorney Chris Mainella. “Mr. Holmes made it very clear on the intercepted communications he wanted nothing to do with the Hells Angels. He wouldn’t go to the clubhouse, he didn’t trust them. He simply dealt with Mr. Lebras.”
When police executed a search warrant at Holmes’ Waterford Avenue house, they found $150,000 and one kilogram of benzocaine, which is used to dilute cocaine, sometimes with fatal consequences. It has been linked to a potentially fatal blood condition called methemoglobinemia.

Unlike other cutting agents such as baking powder, benzocaine reduces the purity of the cocaine while still maintaining a “high,” Mainella said.
“The problem is you may be killing the person through their blood.”
Holmes is the last Project Drill accused to be sentenced. Robertson didn’t testify once as all 18 accused pleaded guilty to reduced charges and did not proceed to trial. They received sentences ranging from four years to 15 years.
According to court records, Robertson was to be paid $650,000 for his co-operation, plus expenses. He is now living in witness protection.

Sentence closes book on undercover sting operation 
ONCE a trusted friend of the Hells Angels who helped facilitate the flow of cocaine from British Columbia to Manitoba, Wayne Holmes has now become a footnote in local legal history.
Holmes, 52, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to traffic drugs and was given an eight-and-a-half year prison sentence under a joint agreement between Crown and defence lawyers. His case closes the book on a successful undercover police sting operation, dubbed Project DRILL, which saw 18 high-ranking bikers and associates taken down in 2007.
"He was the last man standing," Crown attorney Chris Mainella told court Wednesday. He noted that every single person who was arrested pleaded guilty to their roles in the drug network and was given a sentence ranging from four years to 15 years.
Holmes hasn't been convicted of any crimes since 1975 but got involved in the drug business through his association with longtime Hells hangaround Al Lebras, court was told. Holmes now admits he stored cash, cocaine and the cutting agent to dilute the drug in his home and allowed a B.C. drug courier to stay with him.
Queen's Bench Justice Brenda Keyser said it's no surprise Holmes found himself in legal hot water. She said when you "lie with dogs, you get fleas."
Holmes has spent 28 months in custody since his arrest. He must now serve another three years, 10 months.

I think 8 and a half years is WAYY too harsh! This man had no gang ties and when you think about it, his crime really wasn't that serious. Nobody was harmed or killed and he didn't want anything to do with the Hells Angels. Stats show that longer sentences are no more effective, actually cause more harm and recidivism, than shorter sentences. I would also like to know the mitigating circumstances in this case, and this man's background and family life, any previous record, etc. I would have sentenced this man to maybe 3 years prison, because it still is a relatively serious drug offence, with drug treatment and counseling, life skills, education, employment assistance, etc. 

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