N.L. court finds Vikings guilty on drug and mob charges, but defendants argue they were entrapped

From left, Wayne Johnson, James Curran and Vince Leonard shy away from media at Supreme Court on Thursday. (CBC - image credit)
From left, Wayne Johnson, James Curran and Vince Leonard shy away from media at Supreme Court on Thursday. (CBC - image credit)

An organized crime case that's crawled through the Newfoundland and Labrador court system for the better part of a decade isn't over yet — despite a Supreme Court judge finding three biker gang members guilty on several drug charges.

Vince Leonard, Wayne Johnson and James Curran, members of the Vikings Motorcycle Club, were first arrested in 2016.

In a St. John's courtroom Thursday, Justice Daniel Boone read out his lengthy decision, which detailed how the three men dealt illegal drugs to undercover cops, sometimes handing off the substances in Tim Hortons cups and boxes.

In one instance, Johnson sold $43,000 of cocaine in a doughnut box to an undercover officer in a sports bar.

In another instance, Curran dropped off an agent carrying a coffee cup on the side of the Salmonier Line. That cup contained a baggie filled with what Curran sold as heroin, but which a Health Canada lab analysis later found to be a mixture of fentanyl and caffeine.

Defence wants judge to stay charges

Despite the findings of guilt, the trio's lawyers are preparing an application asking for a stay of charges, which if successful would essentially end the trial and let the three men walk free.

Defence counsel plans to argue for the stay of charges on a basis of entrapment, further prolonging a case already halted several times in the last seven years.

The Crown's case relied heavily on testimony and audio recordings from undercover police officers and agents. The accused sold drugs to undercover officers several times, but a successful entrapment case would need to establish that police induced the three men to commit crimes.

Leonard was found guilty of several charges related to trafficking oxycodone, cocaine and hash as well as charges related to contributing to the Vikings, which the court deemed a criminal organization affiliated with the Hells Angels.

He was acquitted of a charge accusing him of selling benzodiazapines and another cocaine trafficking charge.

Johnson was found guilty of criminal organization and cocaine trafficking charges, and Curran of criminal organization and cocaine, heroin and fentanyl trafficking.

The two were each acquitted of a separate organized crime charge.

Their next hearing date has been set for June 20.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador