Pubdate: Fri, 04 Aug 2006
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 The Toronto Star
Author: Betsy Powell, Crime Reporter
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Canada)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine - Canada)


Linked to Shooting of Rival Drug Dealer

Ninth to Plead Guilty After Crackdown

A "leading" member of the Malvern Crew street gang shook a Crown
attorney's hand after pleading guilty yesterday to several charges,
including committing aggravated assault for a criminal

David Francis, 30, also apologized to the northeast Scarborough
community of Malvern - terrorized by gang violence for many years -
and to his wife and six children, ages 3 to 14, for "putting them
through all of this shame and disgrace."

Francis did not appear to have any supporters in the almost-empty

Crown Attorney David Boulet said Francis ascended to a leadership role
in the gang after the arrest of other top members, including one who
wanted to "pass the torch ... because he doesn't want to get deported."

Boulet said other members turned to Francis for "advice and direction,
and sometimes, for a firearm." When police searched his residence they
found nine cellphones, two pagers, some marijuana, methamphetamine and
a .45-calibre semi-automatic handgun and various types of ammunition,
the prosecutor said.

However, Francis disagreed that he was a "leader" of the Malvern

"I'm just grateful to get this thing over with," Francis said just
before Justice David Watt ordered him to serve three years in a
federal penitentiary. The sentence is in addition to his pre-trial
custody of two years and three months, typically calculated at a
two-for-one credit, making the sentence equivalent to almost eight

The judge said Francis's guilty pleas to six charges -- several others
were withdrawn -- avoided a lengthy trial and saved taxpayers "a
substantial cost," and his apparent remorse were relevant factors in

Francis is the ninth gang member to plead guilty to participating in a
criminal organization in the 2004 Toronto police anti-gang offensive
called Project Impact, an indication the relatively new charge is
effective in the prosecution and dismantling of gangs, Boulet said

Francis was arrested along with 64 other alleged gang members and
associates in a police sweep on May 12, 2004.

Boulet described how the investigation focused on escalating violence
in the Malvern community that police believed stemmed from ongoing
rivalry between the Malvern Crew and Galloway Boys, another street
gang based near Kingston and Galloway Rds.

Police blame the warfare for a series of homicides and shootings, in
which innocent people became victims.

By all accounts the community became a safer place to live after
Toronto police followed up with a second sweep of the Galloway Boys in
the fall of 2004. A preliminary hearing for 17 reputed members of that
street gang will resume in a few weeks in a Scarborough courthouse.

Francis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and
committing aggravated assault for a criminal organization in the
shooting of a rival drug dealer on April 11, 2004, Boulet told the
court. The victim was shot in the leg while sitting in his car on a
Highway 404 off-ramp after he was ambushed by a gunman.

Boulet said the Crown is not asking that Francis admit to being the
male who fired the handgun during this shooting, although it's alleged
he was an "integral party in the commission of this offence."
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