Easy money drug courier gets 4 years in prison
Easy drug money was too much for Joseph Desjarlais to resist.
“When a guy shows up at your doorstep with a bunch of money in his hand ... it’s hard to say no,” Desjarlais told a judge Tuesday. “I’m just ashamed of it all.”
Desjarlais, a low-level drug courier for the Zig-Zag Crew street gang, was sentenced to four years in prison.
Desjarlais, 34, was one of 31 people arrested last December in an undercover police sting targeting organized crime.
Court heard Desjarlais met co-accused and full-patch Zig-Zagger Craig Mirus in prison. When both men were released from custody, Desjarlais went to work for Mirus as a drug courier.
Police surveillance captured Desjarlais meeting with Zig-Zagger turned police agent Michael Satsatin outside an Elmwood fire hall and leaving five ounces of cocaine in his vehicle.
Dustin Jeremy Barker, 22, another drug courier scooped up in the same investigation, was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison.
Barker, a drug addict, agreed to deliver drugs as a favour for his cousin, co-accused Zig-Zagger Gerald Frommelt, said defence lawyer Saheel Zaman. Zaman said Barker had smoked some of Frommelt’s drugs and felt he “owed him.”
Police surveillance captured Barker passing Satsatin two ounces of cocaine in the parking lot of a Main Street Shoppers Drug Mart.
Barker’s first child will be born while he is in prison, said Crown attorney Chris Mainella.
“If this is not a wake-up call to him, I don’t know what will be,” he said.
Desjarlais and Barker did not receive double credit for the time they have already served in custody. While their arrests pre-dated changes eliminating “two-for-one” credit, Mainella argued the men weren’t entitled to it because of their history of not obeying court orders and the unlikely prospect they will be granted early release.
Hells members get better deal for guilty pleas
MANITOBA justice officials say the clock is ticking for members and associates of the Hells Angels to decide if they want to play Let's Make A Deal by trading a guilty plea for a reduced prison sentence.
Two Winnipeg men caught up in a massive undercover police sting operation admitted Tuesday to selling drugs on behalf of the outlaw motorcycle gang. That means five of the 31 people arrested last December in "Project Divide" have now resolved their cases.
"The Crown, at this early juncture, is prepared to recommend lenient sentences for those willing to plead guilty," federal Crown attorney Chris Mainella told court. "But at some point, just like the children's game, the music will stop and people are going to be left standing."
Joseph Ronald Desjarlais, 34, was given four years in prison, while Dustin Jeremy Barker, 22, received three years behind bars Tuesday following joint-recommendations between Crown and defence lawyers. The penalties are in addition to five months already spent in custody, which was given just single-time credit based on their histories of breaching court orders.
Mainella told court his office would have sought stiffer sanctions against the pair if they had dragged the matter out. He said they should be given credit for quickly admitting responsibility and saving taxpayers the expense of a lengthy trial.
Desjarlais and Barker were caught on camera meeting with local gangster Michael Satsatin, who agreed to become a paid secret agent and capture the inner workings of the criminal organization in exchange for $450,000 and witness protection.
Desjarlais gave the agent five ounces of cocaine in exchange for $8,000 in marked police money in a deal that went down in the parking lot of the Youth for Christ building on Talbot Avenue last November, court was told.
Desjarlais had just got out of prison months earlier after serving a lengthy term for theft and robbery. He had no official ties or history with the Hells Angels until he met a member of the Zig Zag Crew -- the puppet club for the outlaw motorcycle gang -- while serving his time.
Barker was caught by police delivering two ounces of cocaine to the agent in the parking lot of a Shoppers Drug Mart on north Main Street last November while his girlfriend and her three-year-old child waited inside his vehicle. This will be his first federal prison sentence.
So this is a prime example of how prisons for drug offences, are the schools of crime. This low level dealer met a gang member in prison and only continued his criminal behaviour, as a more hardened criminal equipped with more skills, outside of prison once released. Longer prison sentences dont send a message or deter crime, they actually increase recidivism. We need to address the underlying factors contributing to crime, such as drug addiction and unemployment, in this case.
The Hells Angels keep help keep more dangerous street gangs from getting too large, such as the Indian Posse and the Mad Cowz. The Hells Angels do not harm people, kill people, sexually assault people, etc. They sell drugs and are organized and professional.
Harsher and longer prison sentences are not sending a message or teaching anybody a lesson. Why? Because longer sentences do not deter future crimes. It's proven in research. Deterrence is a complete myth. Longer sentences also do not prevent or reduce crime, and they have been shown to increase recidivism within individuals when released, due to the fact they have been offered no rehab, overcrowding causes increased violence and hostility and prison deprivations only make them more bitter and angry with society.
So for what purpose, are we imprisoning drug dealers? Deterrence doesn't work. Incapacitation isn't the purpose because these individuals are not a risk to society as they have not harmed anybody and society does not need to be protected from them as they are not dangerous. Rehabilitation is not the purpose, as prison programs lack funding and are not implemented properly. If rehab was the purpose, they would not be in prison, as community sanctions can better offer rehab programs which are much more effective. So the only purpose of prison left, is retribution/punishment or in other words, revenge. Our prison system should NOT be one based on revenge, but should be one based on rehabilitation and restoration of these offenders. They need help and need to be treated with respect and care, if we want them to change. If we were truly invested in preventing and reducing crime, we would focus on rehab programs, as they are effective in addressing the underlying causes of crime and factors contributing.
Prisons for drug dealers and drug offences, are like the schools of crime. Dangerous gangs and drugs and violence and pro criminal attitudes/values are prevalent in prisons and small time drug dealers, often meet criminal associates and become more hardened criminals, more likely to re-offend when released. This is NOT in the best interests of society. Let's not turn our justice system into the expensive failure that we see in the US!