Proceeds of local bust to help fight crime

By: Jim Maloway, MLA for Elmwood

As published in The Herald

May 29, 2013

Elmwood streets are safer now that the former head of the Hells Angels in Manitoba was arrested in March 2012 following a joint city police and RCMP investigation targeting the Hells Angels and its support club.

The court heard he was selling "more than $100,000 worth of crack cocaine a month, primarily in the Elmwood area."

The former Hells Angels leader was sentenced to three years on the federal "proceeds of crime" charge and a further eight years on the drug trafficking charge. The court also ordered he serve at least four years on the drug charge before he is eligible for parole.

Under provincial law the gang leader forfeited "more than $500,000 in assets, including equity in an Autumnview Drive home, two motorcycles, and the balances of several investment accounts." This money will be used to fight crime!

In 2009, the Manitoba Government changed provincial laws so we could seize houses and property obtained by crime. Since then, Manitoba’s Property Forfeiture Unit has seized more than $4.3 million. We are currently pursuing another $16 million through the courts.

A second law, our Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, makes it easier to close down properties where drug dealing and other illegal activities have taken place. This law has allowed us to close down more than 630 properties.

The Manitoba government has directed nearly $1 million to police agencies for crime fighting equipment, and victim service groups, with another $280,000 directly to victims of crimes.

This spring, new Police Chief Devon Clunis spoke to residents of our area at a gathering at Elmwood High School.

He described a significant change of emphasis of our police force, with more police on the beat and more focus on prevention on the street. The province and the city are on the same page on this one, and I wish the new police chief all the best as he moves to a more visible community police presence.