A case involving two Red Deer-area residents with alleged ties to the Red Scorpions gang is heading straight to trial.
Cory James Lesperance, 30, and Robin Joseph Stewart, 53, waived their right to a preliminary inquiry Wednesday in Red Deer provincial court.
The two, as well as Amber Theresa McLeod, 26, of Red Deer, were scheduled for a five-day preliminary inquiry starting Wednesday.
Inquiries are held to test the strength of the Crown’s case to determine if there is enough evidence to head to trial.
Greg Gordon appeared on behalf of Lesperance’s counsel, Chady Moustarah of Edmonton, and Brad Mulder appeared on behalf of Stewart’s counsel, Akrim Attia of Edmonton. Mulder had previously been Lesperance’s counsel but was removed as counsel of record in early July.
Gordon and Mulder told Judge Jim Hunter the accused had chosen to waive their preliminary inquiries and set a trial date. In November 2014 they had elected to be tried by a Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench judge alone. Their trial date will be set on Oct. 5.
Stewart and Lesperance are charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of stolen property over $5,000 and possession of a prohibited firearm.
Stewart and Leseprance were arrested at a rural residence in the Balmoral Heights residence on July 23, 2014. Red Deer RCMP, Calgary Police, Airdire RCMP and the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team conducted a three-city raid on two residences and a storage locker in Alberta. The residences were in Balmoral Heights and in Calgary.
After the arrests, Police said they believed Lesperance to be a member of the Red Scorpions gang. The gang is based out of the Lower Mainland area of B.C. and was linked to the murder of six people in Surrey, B.C. in April 2009.
The search warrants were as a result of a two-month investigation. More than 1.4 kg of drugs as well as several firearms were seized by police.
The same Balmoral Heights residence was the scene of a violent gun fight on March 19, 2013. Police have said the matters are unrelated. Bradley Voykin, 25, and Joshua Cusler, 29, of Red Deer, are committed to stand trial on aggravated assault and weapons charges in this matter. Their trial date will be set on Oct. 5.
A fourth person was arrested with Lesperance, Stewart and McLeod on July 23, 2014. Nicholas David James White, 22, was arrested with McLeod at the Calgary residence. White pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one breach of an undertaking. He was sentenced to six months in custody.
In November 2013 White and Lesperance were arrested as part of a drug bust by Innisfail and Red Deer RCMP in both communities. Lesperance was found guilty of possession for the purpose of trafficking and sentenced to two years in jail. White, who was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a controlled susbtance, possession of a weapon obtained by crime and possession of a prohibited weapon, has a trial scheduled for March 2016.