HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html RCMP Allowed Agent's Crimes
Pubdate: Tue, 31 Oct 2006
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Neal Hall, Vancouver Sun


A police agent who infiltrated the Hells Angels in Vancouver may have 
broken the law at times but he was always acting at the direction and 
under the control of the RCMP, a top Mountie who oversaw the 
investigation testified Monday.

"He is operating under the guidance, authority and approval of his 
handlers," recalled RCMP Chief Supt. Bob Paulson, now the 
director-general of the major and organized crime intelligence branch 
in Ottawa.

At the time of the two-year police investigation code-name E-Pandora, 
Paulson was an inspector in charge of major investigations with the 
outlaw motorcycle gang squad.

In 2003 the RCMP decided to recruit a Hells Angels enforcer named 
Michael Plante to try to infiltrate the East End chapter.

"He was trying to infiltrate them and take them down," Paulson said 
of the agent's role in the investigation, which he estimated cost $7 million.

"The intent of the investigation was to gather reliable information 
about their criminal activities," he said of the Hells Angels. "The 
objective was to infiltrate this criminal organization we were targeting."

Paulson said police decided not to intercept shipments of 
methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana during the investigation 
because the RCMP didn't want to compromise the safety of the agent, 
whom police wanted to rise within the ranks of the Hells Angels organization.

He added that police in B.C. had not previously used a police agent 
to infiltrate the Hells Angels, so it was a constant struggle to 
decide whether to allow the agent to traffic illegal drugs and commit 
other crimes at the direction of the Hells Angels.

Paulson said police are allowed to direct the agent to traffic 
illegal drugs by giving him an exemption under the Controlled Drugs 
and Substances Act.

But the agent was being directed by Hells Angels members and 
sometimes things wouldn't go as planned, he added.

Paulson said he sometimes consulted Peter Hogg, a federal prosecutor 
in Vancouver, and a top Mountie in Ottawa to make sure Plante was 
staying within the bounds of the regulations concerning police agents.

Paulson, who is expected to be on the witness stand for the next two 
weeks at the Vancouver Law Courts, was testifying at the abuse of 
process application filed by lawyers for Hells Angels member Ronaldo 
Lising and co-accused Nima Ghavami, who are charged with possession 
and trafficking methamphetamine.

The defence contends the charges should be stayed because the police 
agent committed unauthorized crimes of assault and drug trafficking 
while under the direction and control of the RCMP.

Plante, 36, testified earlier that he had applied to become a member 
of the Hells Angels and was trusted with guarding the Hells Angels 
clubhouse in east Vancouver and running errands for various Angels, 
and was involved in drug deals with several Hells Angels.

Paulson recalled that Plante was paid up to $15,000 a month and 
received $500,000 -- half of the $1 million reward promised by his 
signed agreement with the RCMP -- for his services before he went 
into witness protection last year.

The investigation culminated in the arrest of 18 men, including six 
Hells Angels members, and the raid of Hells Angels clubhouses in 
Vancouver and Kelowna in July 2005.
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