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Full patch Hells Angel sentenced for trafficking cocaine to support Winnipeg club

Saturday, 15 October 2011

 

B.C. judge on Friday sentenced a Vancouver Island man to 6 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine for a support club of the Hells Angels in Winnipeg. Thomas Edward Winget, 27, was one of 31 people arrested in December 2009 following a major police crackdown on organized crime in Winnipeg. Born in Winnipeg, he had excelled at football and came out to Victoria to play in the Canadian Junior Football League. But when he returned to Winnipeg in 2008, he found himself strapped for cash and turned to a life in crime, selling drugs and joining the Zig Zag Crew, a support club of the Manitoba chapter of the Hells Angels. He became a full-patch member of the gang in August 2008 and worked his way up to become sergeant at arms, responsible for security. After he was arrested and charged, he was released on bail and moved back to B.C. Court heard that he has a fiancee and intends to marry her one day and has been employed without violating his stringent bail conditions. In addition, he has done a number of speaking engagements to school children, warning them of the dangers of the gang lifestyle and has created a website aimed at dissuading youths from following in his footsteps. Winget pleaded guilty to trafficking in cocaine, from March to September 2009, in Winnipeg. He also pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to participate and contribute to the activities of a criminal organization, namely the Zig Zag Crew. And he pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to launder the proceeds of crime to the Manitoba chapter of the Hells Angels. At the sentencing hearing in Vancouver, Winget told B.C. Supreme Court Madam Justice Susan Griffin that he’d used his time while on bail to turn his life around and promised not to return to his former ways. “I can look you in the eye and say I’m a changed man.” In imposing sentence, the judge noted that an aggravating factor for Winget was that he was higher up on the gang hierarchy, a “middle man” in the drug trade. She also noted the mitigating factors, including his guilty plea, which saved the courts considerable time and money. The judge told the accused he’d engage in behaviour that was “extremely harmful” to a wide group of people but acknowledged he had taken steps to leave his life in crime behind. “I accept that you do have this commitment to be a changed man and to not return to crime. I wish you well.” The judge accepted a joint submission from Crown and defence and imposed a sentence of 6 years in jail. Of the 31 people arrested in the crackdown, 29 have now pleaded guilty and the remaining two are going to trial, according to prosecutors.

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A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

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