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Thursday, 23 June 2011

The Terror Squad had recently established itself as the top street gang in the city

17:29 |

The Terror Squad had recently established itself as the top street gang in the city, beating out numerous rivals in a crowded field of feared brands such the Indian Posse, Crazy Cree and Native Syndicate. These aboriginal gangs, largely imported from Winnipeg, take advantage of poor or damaged inner-city youth by promising big money, a family and respect, according to various police investigations over the years. Some of them claim a racial or cultural pride motivation, but most victims of their drug dealing, prostitution and violence are aboriginal.

Most mimic the dress, slang and graffiti of African-American inner city gangs of the 1980s and attempt to structure their organizations in the image of the mafia, Hells Angels or other organized crime groups.

McNab and other Terror Squad members have been on the radar of the Saskatoon Police Service for years. In 2003, McNab was part of a small gang of two dozen people identified by police as the "West Side Boyz."

According to the court documents, the Terror Squad's main activity is drug dealing, aided by large amounts of violence and intimidation. The 38-year-old McNab - old by street gang standards - is in command.

McNab sits on a council of founding members who direct the gang's activities. Each council member is in charge of a "crew," which operates as a semi-independent businesses.

When crew members sell drugs, commit home invasions, robberies or other crimes, they are required to "kick up" a portion of the profits to the council or others designated as captains, generals or higher-ups.

Some of that money goes into a "money pot" to pay legal bills, transportation or other expenses.

"The Terror Squad is in fact a criminal organization," the documents state.

. . .

Evidence of McNab's drug dealing was apparent almost from the moment police began his phone tap.

On Oct. 27, 2010, at 6: 21 p.m., one of McNab's dealers, Jamie Sutherland, called another woman from McNab's house. The woman told Sutherland she's "done" and to come and pick up the money.

McNab is heard in the background saying "She doesn't give the f-----g orders around here." McNab then changed his mind and relents, telling Sutherland to get his money.

Seven minutes later, McNab called another woman selling for him to discuss her progress selling drugs. Six minutes after that, she called back to make arrangements for an exchange.

In another call at 9: 19 p.m., McNab told another woman to come to his house and get re-supplied.

Six hours later, at 3: 09 a.m., Sutherland called McNab and asked to buy a "quatch for 420." McNab said he could only do a "game."

Police say a quatch is a quarter ounce of cocaine and a game an eighth of an ounce.

That afternoon, an unknown man called McNab's cellphone. McNab's common-law wife, Beverly Fullerton, answered. The man said he needed Fullerton to bring him an "hour" (one gram of cocaine). Fullerton said she couldn't because she was at home alone with the kids, but he could come over to pick it up.

Just 25 minutes later, Fullerton took another call, from stabbing victim Devon Napope. Napope requested "a game or a game and a half." Fullerton, with McNab heard giving instructions in the background, agreed.

All of these calls, just a sampling of the total, occurred within 24 hours of the surveillance beginning.

In other calls, McNab showed a softer approach. When McNab learned fellow dealer Christopher Cathcart, also known as "Windshield," had a baby, he ordered his crew to help Cathcart's people sell drugs.

"Make sure Windshield makes his money to support his baby," McNab said.

When one of his crew revealed she and others were selling drugs out of her grandmother's house, McNab told her they "should all be paying her grandma 20 dollars a day."

In one early call, McNab told one unidentified man that things were going well and everybody was paying him on time. He said that's the way it should be "if I'm the leader for organized crime."

. . .

McNab appears at times disorganized and indecisive.

In one call, McNab asked Regush for the wrong quantity of drugs. On more than one occasion, he threatened to have a dealer beaten for losing his money, but then backed off. And on the afternoon of Nov. 2, 2010, the landline at his home was left off the hook while police listened to them discussing drug weights and packaging. Fullerton is heard using the word "coke" to McNab, the first time the drug is referenced directly.

McNab grew increasingly frustrated with his crew. He spewed expletives when they told him they set up a scheduling chart. He was enraged when "custies" (customers) were left waiting outside one of his drug houses while his dealers partied in the basement with the music turned up too loud.

McNab told Cathcart that house was his "bread and butter." Cathcart said he already went there and "slapped out a few people," and told them they'd be getting "minutes." In street gangs, a minute commonly refers to a 60-second, unrestricted gang beating used to punish or initiate members.

. . .

As a result of various surveillance, as well as tips from confidential informants, police raided a home on Avenue F South they believed was a McNab-Terror Squad drug house. However, since intelligence indicated there were likely weapons in the house, crisis negotiators were called to the scene. When police got in, they found no drugs or weapons. They did find smashed cellular phones, ammunition and baggies with the corners cut in a fashion used for drug packaging.

Police noted any drugs "could have easily been flushed down the toilet or sink" in the time it took police to get inside.

. . .

The informant is listed only as Source A, one of three described in very general detail in the documents.

Source A has worked with a certain officer several times per month for the past five years. "A" has a lengthy criminal record for assault, theft and other crimes. His listed motivations are personal reasons and "judicial consideration."

Source B has an even longer record of assaults with weapons and robberies with violence. "B" is motivated by the desire to impress the officer as well as "revenge." The officer notes the informant provided the information while under the influence of alcohol, but there is no further explanation.

Source C is also a convicted criminal but the information provided has been confirmed in other ways, the documents state.

Police now focused on McNab's and Fullerton's residence on Fairlight Drive.

Between Feb. 22 and March 19, police conducted extensive visual surveillance on those leaving and entering the house, as well as trips to other locations.

The house was buzzing with activity, particularly in the evening. McNab and others would often meet for just a few minutes at a time in various locations, from Walmart to Sutherland-area alleys. Some were seen wearing the gang's signature black bandanas.

"I believe Michael McNab's cocaine distribution network is continuing," one officer stated in the documents.

On March 21, the officer asked a judge to issue a search warrant for the Fairlight Drive house between 6 p.m. and 11: 45 p.m. that night.

"I believe Michael McNab is savvy in that he does not keep more than two ounces of cocaine in his possession at any given time as it is too great a risk," the officer states.

"I believe an execution of a search warrant during this busy period will maximize the results."

The judge gave permission for the raid and police moved in. It resulted in the arrest and conviction of several top members of the Terror Squad drug network.

McNab pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking and directing a criminal organization. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

At his sentencing hearing May 18, Fullerton and others wept in the gallery. His lawyer said McNab was born into the criminal life, as his father was a gang member and his uncle was involved in crime.

His mother was a prostitute before he was born and he smoked his first marijuana joint at age three, the lawyer said.

McNab has been a father to Fullerton's three children, her niece and his own natural children. Among the children's letters of support was a description of the family sitting down together for supper and discussing school, the lawyer said.

"I'm breaking their hearts right now," McNab said.

"In my heart I'm not a bad person. I'm pretty sure I'm done with all that. . I'll be apologizing to my family for the rest of my life."

McNab's DNA will go into the national data bank and he is prohibited from possessing firearms or weapons for the rest of his life.

Sgt. Wintermute said he's pleased with the results of the investigation, but isn't "naive enough" to think police have destroyed the Terror Squad or eliminated the cocaine business in Saskatoon.

"But we've put a pretty good dent in the operations," he said.

"The citizens of this city deserve to feel safe and live in a healthy environment. They shouldn't have to live in fear."

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