A former Niagara Falls man charged a province-wide drug bust involving Greater Sudbury Police is headed to the penitentiary.
William Hunter, 31, of Welland pleaded guilty to possessing two loaded, prohibited firearms, one of which was a sawed-off shotgun in the Ontario Court of Justice in Greater Sudbury on Wednesday.
He was charged in 2019 as part of Project Skylark, a joint police operation that targetted outlaw biker gangs.
Justice Martin Lambert, accepting a joint sentencing submission from defence lawyer Nick Xynnis of Toronto and federal prosecutor Michael Jones of Ottawa, both of whom appeared via videolink, issued a three-year jail sentence, a 10-year weapons ban, and a DNA order.
“Clearly, Mr. Hunter, you were in possession of the firearms for nefarious purposes,” Lambert told Hunter, who was standing before him. “Hopefully, this will be a sufficient deterrent to you and, more importantly, to others that if you get involved in this type of business, there are some serious consequences.”
Lambert noted Hunter, who had been facing nine charges concerning, had entered guilty pleas and a limited criminal record.
Since Hunter had been in custody for 76 days before being granted bail in mid-October of 2019, he received pre-trial custody credit of 114 days. That leaves him with 981 days in custody left to serve.
The court heard that on Aug. 1, 2019 (the day Project Skylark concluded), police officers executing a search warrant at Hunter’s Niagara Falls residence found a sawed-off, loaded Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun and a Glock handgun. The shotgun was found to be loaded with five shells while the handgun had six bullets in the clip. Both firearms are prohibited weapons.
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