Black Pistons clubhouse heavily barricaded

Steel bars were on the windows and doors, a cup was kept on the bar that said jail fund, and cameras kept a close watch on the parking lot and anyone going in or out of the Black Pistons' clubhouse, court heard on Tuesday.

The clubhouse at 80 Page St., in St. Catharines was heavily barricaded when police raided the building on the morning of Nov. 6, 2013, and arrested two of the occupants who were found inside, said Niagara Regional Police Det. Const. David Pierini.

The front door had bars, the windows were tinted so no one could see inside, and a wall was built behind the large window at the front of the building, said Pierini, who ended up arresting Mario Macedo, a known member of the Outlaws motorcycle club, and Rafet Ahmed, who refused to give his name.

Federal prosecutors Tanit Gilliam and Niall Gilks spent most of the day on Tuesday reviewing photos taken of the different rooms inside the clubhouse, plus a number of items that were seized during the raid.

Randy McGean, 44, Isaac Lucas, 38, and Lyle Gough, 27, all of St. Catharines, are on trial in the Superior Court of Justice facing a number of drug-related charges.

The three men have pleaded not guilty.

McGean is charged with being a member of a criminal organization, trafficking in heroin and cocaine, and possession of prohibited weapons, including a taser and a switchblade.
Lucas and Gough face drug trafficking charges that include heroin and cocaine.

NRP Det. Sgt. Steven Bickell, who is now retired, took photos and helped conduct the search at the clubhouse. Rooms inside the building were each designated with a letter of the alphabet for easier identification of where the items were found.

Inside a room on the second floor, Bickell said he found a small table in a closet with a roll of paper towel on it that contained some small baggies with a white powder inside that appeared to be narcotics. Also found in the closet was a piece of tin foil and what police believed to be crack cocaine.

Ontario Provincial Police officer Mark Leitch, a member of the Organized Crime Enforcement Unit, also took part in the search at the clubhouse.

In a room that contained a bar, police found a list of names and phone numbers of people believed to be club members. A dixie cup on the bar had the words "jail fund" written on it. A black donation cash box was also found that contained $42.35 along with some business cards from an escort service.

Leitch said police also seized two guest books, two cell phones that were on the bar, and on a shelf was a brick from a building that had "2009 Outlaws" written on the front. Also found were jackets with Black Pistons and Outlaws insignia on them. One had the words Outlaws and Germany on it.

NRP officer Patrick Sandell, a member of the intelligence unit who also conducted surveillance, said McGean was seen arriving at KoKo's Lounge on April 23, with a number of other riders including a member of the Outlaws. On May 29, he was seen with Macedo, another member of the Outlaws.

Court heard that when police searched McGean's residence on Water Street in St. Catharines, they found $3,700 in Canadian currency, $1,500 in US currency, but no drugs were found.

Police officers from the NRP street crime unit began investigating McGean in January 2013. That investigation grew in scope and on April 16 it became known as Project Resurgence.

Some items seized by police during Project Resurgence. File photo Bob Tymczyszyn St. Catharines Standard / POSTMEDIA NETWORK<br />

Some items seized by police during Project Resurgence. File photo Bob Tymczyszyn St. Catharines Standard / POSTMEDIA NETWORK

 

That name was based on information gathered by police that the Outlaws were trying to re-establish themselves in the Niagara area. Nine members of the Black Pistons, who had set up a clubhouse at 80 Page St., in St. Catharines, were going to soon receive their Outlaws patches as full-fledged members.

During early morning raids on Nov. 6, 2013, more than 220 police officers from across Ontario were involved in executing 30 search-and-arrest warrants in and around Niagara.

The trial continues on Wednesday in front of Judge Joseph Henderson who is sitting without a jury.

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News Article written by: 
Tony Ricciuto
Source of News article: 
niagarafallsreview.ca

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