Two Black Pistons convicted on drug charges

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Two members of the Black Pistons Motorcycle Club have been found guilty of drug trafficking and weapons related charges, but a judge found there was not enough evidence to prove the club was part of a criminal organization.

Randy McGean, 44, who organized the Black Pistons, and Isaac Lucas, 38, who was described in court as McGean's right-hand man, have been convicted of trafficking in cocaine and herion.

McGean was also found guilty of being in possession of cash that was proceeds of crime, plus five weapons-related charges that related to a taser and a switchblade knife.

Lyle Gough, 27, was found not guilty of two charges, trafficking and conspiracy to traffic in heroin. Most of the evidence gathered against Gough related to telephone interceptions by police where heroin was discussed. Lucas was the seller and Gough was the purchaser. During one of the conversations, Gough asked for a sample of the product and Lucas told him he would have to wait.

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

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

During court appearances earlier this year, McGean, Lucas and Gough all pleaded not guilty to 15 charges that included being a member of a criminal organization, trafficking in heroin and cocaine and possession of prohibited weapons.

Court heard that nine members of the Black Pistons Motorcycle Club had set up a clubhouse at 80 Page St., in St. Catharines.

On Nov. 6, 2013, police officers from across Ontario were involved in executing 30 search-and-arrest warrants in and around Niagara. The clubhouse was part of that raid. Police had information that some members of the Black Pistons were soon going to be patched over as full-fledged members of the Outlaws.

The seven-month investigation was dubbed Project Resurgence and some of the items seized included $70,000 in cash, $150,000 worth of vehicles, marijuana with a potential street value of $18 million, $30,000 in heroin and a variety of weapons.

A number of cell phones were also seized. A total of 133,710 phone calls were intercepted by police and approximately 200 were transcribed for court purposes.

Nearly 30 people were charged following the investigation. A number of individuals entered guilty pleas, while a few elected to have a trial.

One of those arrested was Mario Macedo, an 18-year member of the Outlaws. Earlier this year, Macedo was convicted of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. He pleaded guilty to brokering a $47,000 cocaine deal between his drug dealer and the Black Pistons.

Macedo has been sentenced to two and a half years in jail.

On Tuesday, in the Superior Court of Justice in St. Catharines, Justice Joseph Henderson
spent a considerable amount of time dealing with some of the issues that had been raised during the trial.

One of the issues raised by Federal prosecutors Tanit Gilliam and Niall Gilks was that the Black Pistons were part of a criminal organization and some of their members were part of a conspiracy that involved trafficking in drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

Defence lawyers Jaime Stephenson, Laura Giordano and Mike Wendl had argued that no conspiracy was proven and that the Black Pistons are a motorcycle club, not a criminal organization.

The judge said McGean and Lucas were working together and they had an agreement whereby McGean would make the decision and Lucas would carry it out.

Henderson said a list of names and phone numbers that were found behind the bar inside the clubhouse does not prove they were members of the Black Pistons. For example, McGean's name was not on the list, and he was head of the group, while Macedo's name was on the list, but he was a Outlaw, not a Black Piston.

The judge said it was not proven that the Black Pistons are a criminal organization or that all of their members were involved in criminal activity.

Henderson said some members were involved in the drug trade, the clubhouse was organized, and they generated large amounts of money, but one cannot assume they are a criminal organization.

"A motorcycle club can be a social club," said Henderson. "There is no evidence that members of the Black Pistons had to engage in the drug business."

McGean and Lucas remain in custody.

The case has been adjourned to the next assignment court at 9 a.m., on Sept. 28, to pick a date for the sentencing, which is expected to last a full day.

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Tony Ricciuto
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