Okanagan drug dealer with gang ties could get 8 years

Donahugh McWhirter, 46, is being sentenced this week.

A Lake Country man described by Mounties as a senior member of the Independent Soldiers could spend up to eight years in prison.

Donahugh McWhirter, 46, was arrested with his girlfriend Brittany Stinn, in Kelowna Jan. 29, 2015. This week he’s in court to be sentenced for drug and weapons charges he pleaded guilty to in January.

Crown counsel Perbeen Mann said she’s seeking a global sentence of eight years for possession of methamphetamine and MDMA for the purpose of trafficking, along with unlawful possession of a shotgun and rifle.

Mann told the court in sentencing submissions Monday that McWhirter was being watched by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. for the better part of a year when he was arrested with a significant cache of drugs that led to the discovery of firearms and a lot of Independent Solider swag.

On the month of his arrest, they’d watched McWhirter and Stinn go to an address in Maple Ridge belonging to a person believed to be have criminal ties for the fifth time in a short period.

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On a traffic violation, they stopped McWhirter and searched the vehicle.

In the trunk of his Audi, tucked in the back in a Walmart bag, was a bag of powder methamphetamine, a bag of powder MDMA, a bag of yellow pills that weren’t identified and a bag of MDMA pills.

The style and volume of drugs, said Mann, is typical for a mid-level drug dealer who provides product to street level dealers.

The MDMA had a bulk value of $68,000 and a street value of $138,000. The Meth had a bulk value of $180,850 and a street value of $840,200.

Once they seized the drugs, Mounties went to McWhirter’s house to see what was there.

There they found a significant supply of Independent Solider paraphernalia, such as hats and hoodies. At the time of his arrest, Mounties said McWhirter was a senior member of the criminal organization that was in the throes of recruiting new members.

Police also found a bag of firearms with no trigger lock, ammunition, shells, a crossbow and a sword.

There were 16 mobile phones and several score sheets around. Score sheets are how drug dealers keep their books. There were also vials of steroids and ziplock bags. Not all these items are on the indictment.

The pair have been out of custody on bail since their arrest.

Although this matter has been in the courts a long time there was some confusion at the beginning of the sentencing hearing, from when McWhirter told the pre sentence report writer that he wasn’t actually guilty of the crimes.

The judge had to ask him again if he meant to enter a guilty plea as the hearing got underway and McWhirter said yes, just that he wasn’t criminally active anymore.

The Independent Soldier’s have been a criminal organization in B.C. for over a decade. Of note, one of the men shot outside the Delta Grand hotel in 2011, was James Riach, a card carrying member of the organization.

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