Drug transaction idea a ruse, Hells Angel testifies
A Hells Angel on trial in Saskatoon for one count of drug trafficking testified Wednesday he led a police informant on about the idea of a cocaine deal so he could continue receiving opioids to feed his addiction.
Rob Allen’s trial began Monday in Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench after the 36-year-old was arrested as part of the January 2015 Project Forseti raids in Saskatchewan and Alberta. He was one of 14 people arrested.
Noel Harder, who officially signed up to be a police informant in the case in December 2014, testified during day one of the trial. He said in 2014 he and Allen were planning to move one kilogram of cocaine to Saskatoon from Hells Angels in Ontario. Harder would sell the cocaine, and although Allen would never be in direct contact with the drugs, he would receive a $5,000 cut, according to Harder.
When Allen took the stand Wednesday, he testified he had no intention of moving any cocaine to Saskatoon. He said Harder approached him about the deal. The ideas behind the price, suppliers and Allen’s cut came from Harder.
“He was constantly asking me to bring drugs in,” Allen said while under cross-examination.
He testified he went along with Harder’s plan because he feared losing his connection to receiving opioids.
Allen was prescribed OxyContin for a back injury in 2012 and eventually became addicted, he testified. He spent between $1,000 and $2,000 a month on OxyContin and fentanyl, and bought it exclusively from Harder and two of Harder’s associates.
He shook the addiction after his arrest last year and is no longer dependent on opioids, he said.
While Harder was under cross-examination, defence lawyer Morris Bodnar asked why it took about nine months to discuss a drug deal that didn’t happen.
Harder also said police instructed him to target about 30 people, including Allen and other Hells Angels members, in the Project Forseti investigation.
At the time he was the vice-president of the Fallen Saints, a group police describe as a puppet club of the Hells Angels.
Harder said he was instructed numerous times by police to meet with Allen to discuss the cocaine deal. When they met, their conversations were being recorded, but other times Allen didn’t make himself available.
Text messages between Allen and Harder were also intercepted and Harder testified the two often spoke in code when discussing illegal activities. Allen said he was just humouring Harder, even going as far as writing on a sticky note the cocaine would arrive at a certain time on a certain day, which never happened.
Court also heard Harder was offered a $300,000 reward for his work in Project Forseti as well as a living allowance, which he still receives today.
Defence lawyer Morris Bodnar said prosecutor Douglas Curliss spoke with Harder during breaks in proceedings Tuesday, which he argued is inappropriate.
Curliss asked Bodnar to apologize and withdraw the complaint Wednesday, citing case law saying it’s appropriate for a prosecutor to speak with a client outside of examination-in-chief.
While Bodnar did not apologize or withdraw the complaint, Justice Grant Currie ruled in Curliss’s favour, saying the prosecutor didn’t act inappropriately.
Cross-examination of Allen is expected to continue Thursday.