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Saturday, 20 November 2010

Fraser Valley gangsters and longtime traffickers have pleaded guilty in a Seattle courtroom

13:05 |

notorious Fraser Valley gangsters and longtime traffickers have pleaded guilty in a Seattle courtroom for their role in a drug-smuggling operation that authorities say was carried out on behalf of the Hells Angels.

New indictments against nine B.C. men were sworn in October; seven of the accused travelled to Washington state earlier this week to admit their guilt.

Their charges flow from a massive U.S. investigation that led to the conviction of Abbotsford residents Rob Shannon and Devron Quast in late 2008 for smuggling thousands of kilos of pot and cocaine, partly -- the U.S. Attorney said -- for B.C. Hells Angels.

The newly convicted with the highest profiles, Edward "Skeeter" Russell and Jody York, are longtime former associates of Anton Hooites-Meursing, who pleaded guilty to murder earlier this year and who is expected to be a key witness in the Surrey Six case.

Both Russell and York have been targeted in previous shootings. In fact, when Russell was wounded by hit men in 2003, Hooites-Meursing helped murder an Abbotsford teen in retaliation, according to his sentencing hearing last April.

The new U.S. court documents say all the accused worked for various periods of time with Shannon, who was sentenced in March 2009 to 20 years behind bars.

Both Shannon, 40, and York, 35, appeared in a rap video produced by Vancouver chapter Hells Angel Hal Porteous.

York, who also has links to the Independent Soldiers gang, signed the plea agreement Nov. 17 and was allowed to return to B.C. until he is sentenced in February.

York admitted that beginning in 2003 and continuing until September 2006, he entered into an agreement with Shannon, Quast and "others known and unknown" across the border.

"Shannon and York arranged for multiple loads of marijuana to be smuggled into the U.S. from Canada," the plea agreement says. "The marijuana, which was owned by others but entrusted to Shannon and York for transportation, was hidden in truckloads of beauty bark, crates, hollowed-out logs, pipes, trailers and various other means, and crossed into the state of Washington."

York was one of the brains behind the operation, the documents say, and "helped Mr. Shannon develop ideas for the transportation of drugs."

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