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Thursday, 9 April 2009

Thomas Crawford second-in-command in the local chapter of the Independent Soldiers

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Thomas Crawford, who Kamloops Mounties used to believe was second-in-command in the local chapter of the Independent Soldiers, had his bail revocation overturned in B.C. Supreme Court.
"I'm satisfied that the order that I made revoking Mr. Crawford's bail was an order made without any jurisdiction," said B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Preston, who pulled the 27-year-old's bail on Monday after he pleaded guilty to breaching his conditions."Mr. Crawford, you should take the order of revoking your bail as a preview of what's going to happen if you breach your conditions again."In pleading guilty, Crawford admitted to breaching bail conditions on which he was placed in 2007 after he was arrested and charged with a number of drug- and weapons-related offences.On March 20, he was out past his curfew with two other men, who are alleged to have been waving guns around at a pair of Sahali restaurants.He was also prohibited from being inside one of the restaurants, where he is alleged to have conspired with alleged Independent Soldiers leader Jayme Russell to sell drugs to a pair of undercover cops in 2007.Last summer, Crawford claimed in court to have left the Independent Soldiers — and defence lawyer Chris Thompson said his client has since had his gang tattoos covered with other ink.However, Thompson said, the decision by Crawford to leave the gang has created "a tremendous amount of animosity" between him and the other gangsters.As a result, Thompson said, Crawford is in danger at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre — where Russell has been in custody since his arrest last month.
"He didn't come out of his cell all the time he was in KRCC because he knows he can't," he said. "This is as serious as it gets."
Russell was among five men — all of whom police say are affiliated with the Independent Soldiers — arrested March 11 at the conclusion of a four-month undercover investigation.Mounties say they seized three kilograms of cocaine, thousands of dollars in cash, a loaded semi-automatic handgun, body armour and three vehicles at the conclusion of the investigation.Crawford's drug charges stem from his alleged dealings with undercover officers in a separate investigation in early-2007.He's alleged to have sold the cops four ounces of cocaine, a .357-calibre handgun and a box of bullets.
Russell was also charged in connection with the 2007 sting, and was convicted in January of trafficking in a controlled substance.
He's scheduled to be sentenced on April 8.Crawford is scheduled to stand trial on his charges in July, but Thompson has indicated a guilty plea may be entered before then.Preston sentenced Crawford to 30 days in jail for the breach charge.

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