Two B.C. men admit to 1998 drug killings in Manitoba
Two British Columbia men have admitted their roles in a drug killing nine years ago after they were caught last year in an elaborate RCMP sting based in Manitoba.
November 30, 2007
WINNIPEG -- Two British Columbia men have admitted their roles in a drug killing nine years ago after they were caught last year in an elaborate RCMP sting based in Manitoba.
Trevor Thomas, 49, recently was sentenced to nine years in prison while Brian MacDonald, 42, received seven years. Both men pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
A third accused -- 43-year-old Manitoba resident Albert Le Blanc -- has pleaded not guilty and is set to begin his second-degree murder trial next year.
He is presumed innocent.
Cal Marriott, 42, was found beaten to death inside his Vernon, B.C., home on Oct. 27, 1998. An autopsy showed he suffered repeated blows to the head.
The murder trail grew colder with time and the case finally was turned over to the RCMP’s unsolved homicide section in 2005 for a fresh look.
The accused Manitoba man, his girlfriend and her two young children arrived in Virden, Man., in summer 2005 by bus and began living in a rental property.
They had just moved from B.C., and Le Blanc told people in town his girlfriend had a family connection to Manitoba and they wanted to move here because housing was cheap.
Virden is located about 280 kilometres west of Winnipeg.
The RCMP have used their so-called “Mr. Big” sting on several occasions across Canada and typically gain the trust of their target, then draw him into a bogus criminal organization in order to elicit a confession.
Court heard during Thomas’s recent sentencing that he was the head of a marijuana-growing operation based in Marriott’s home.
The two got into an argument over the profits. Thomas then hired two men to go with him to Marriott’s house to collect money from him. They broke into the home, and Thomas questioned Marriott as another man beat him to death.
Meanwhile, MacDonald searched the property. Police eventually found 387 plants, along with Marriott’s body, inside.
Police are still continuing to investigate another troubling aspect of the case.
Marriott’s girlfriend went missing just three weeks after he was killed and has not been found.
Linda Lachance, 38, was last seen Nov. 20, 1998 at her apartment in Enderby, B.C., about 80 kilometres north of Kelowna, B.C. Police say there were no signs of a struggle but suspect she may have been the victim of foul play.
Police say no link has been established between the three suspects in Marriott’s death and Lachance’s disappearance.
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