Once alleged outlaw biker Thomas Snow changed his not guilty plea to guilty Thursday morning, Justice Carl Thompson was obligated to make sure he understood the consequences of what he was doing.
"This charge carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. You understand that?" Thompson asked.
"Yeah," Snow replied from his place in the dock, nodding.
Snow, 64, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring with others to traffic oxycodone over a period of months. A charge of trafficking the powerful prescription painkiller is set to be withdrawn as the result of a plea deal.
Snow was originally jointly charged with Shane Peter Leonard, 32; however, the two cases were separated when the matter was called earlier this week. Leonard, who has entered not guilty pleas to the same charges, will be back in court Dec. 18.
Crown prosecutor Trevor Bridger indicated there would be a joint submission on sentencing from himself and defence lawyer Ken Hollett once Snow’s case is called again Nov. 28.
Snow and Leonard were two of 10 men arrested in the fall of 2016 as part of Project Bombard, a two-year RNC/RCMP investigation into the activities of the Vikings Motorcycle Club, instigated by the murder of Dale Porter in 2014. Porter, 39, was found stabbed to death in his North River, Conception Bay North, driveway. Two suspected Vikings members, Allan Potter, 54, and Daniel Leonard, 37, have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Porter’s death.
Police executed search warrants on six places in St. John’s and Cupids in September 2016, including homes in the downtown area and the Sports Bar on Boncloddy Street and made the 10 arrests. They also seized a significant quantity of cocaine, heroin mixed with fentanyl, marijuana and cash, along with motorcycles, trucks, and Vikings paraphernalia like jewelry and clothes.
Police say the Vikings are affiliated with larger outlaw biker group Hells Angels, and said at the time of the arrests and seizure they believed it "represented a serious setback in the Hells Angels’ attempt to gain a foothold in our province."