Ugly Crew members appear in court
Alleged gang members and associates charged in connection with Project Runway, a monthslong investigation that resulted in nine arrests and the seizure of drugs and guns late last year, will return to court early next month after several of them appeared in court Wednesday.
The accused, including several who remain in custody, will return to Petebrorough Ontario Court of Justice on March 6 at 2 p.m. for case management, a conference involving lawyers and a judge that aims to streamline proceedings.
Project Runway netted the core and leader of a high-risk, local but Greater Toronto Area-supplied group known as “the Ugly Crew” and its associates, police said. Nine warrants were issued – eight in Peterborough and one in Toronto – on Dec. 15.
City police went on to arrest a total of 21 people and lay 150 charges as part of the investigation, Insp. Larry Charmley said Wednesday.
Eight firearms, more than $113,000 in cash, a vehicle, 5.6 kilograms of cocaine, 8.1 kg of marijuana, 1 kg of hash, 316 grams of crystal methamphetamine and 149 grams of heroin were seized.
The Crown is anxious to move the matter forward and intends to shape its case during the case management conference, court heard Wednesday as prosecutors sought to determine how many of the accused had hired lawyers and who intended to represent themselves.
City lawyers Dave McFadden, Joleen Hiland, Ray Gemmill of Lindsay and Toronto’s Stephen Proudlove, Sonya Shikhman and Talman Rodocker are among those retained, or in the process of being retained, court heard.
In-custody accused Justin Boyer of Toronto, Jonathan Morningstar of Raymond St. and Jason Brown of Collison Ave. appeared before Justice Robert Beninger on Wednesday, as did Matthew Kellough-Garrett of Parkhill Rd. W, who is free on bail.
Aidan Nyenhuis of Parkhill Rd. W did not appear as scheduled Wednesday. His matter was adjourned until Friday, when it will be also rescheduled until March 6. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest, with discretion, meaning it will be rescinded if he appears Friday.
Other co-accused were not in court Wednesday, but counsel appeared on their behalf in what is known as an appearance by designation.
Boyer was charged with two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking (cocaine and methamphetamine), possession of marijuana and three counts of possession of the proceeds of crime.
Morningstar was charged with five counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking (cocaine and marijuana), possession of the proceeds of crime exceeding $5,000 and breach of recognizance.
Brown was charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, proceeds of crime exceeding $5,000, possession of marijuana, careless storage of ammunition and possession of ammunition contrary to prohibition order.
Kellough-Garrett was charged with four counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking (cocaine and marijuana) and possession of the proceeds of crime exceeding $5,000.
Nyenhuis was charged with four counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking (cocaine and marijuana) and two counts of breach of probation.
The Crown also sought to schedule a date for a judicial pretrial, a hearing usually held behind closed doors that generally aims to resolve legal issues, beyond the next court date. The request was denied by Beninger, who cited that would go against local procedure.