Man arrested in coke sting released from jail

Crown objects to releasing co-accused; bail hearing set

Rosie Mullaley
Published on March 25, 2014
Sheriff’s officers escort Leroy Donald Thomas (left) and Kurt Marshall Churchill from the holding cells into the courtroom at provincial court in St. John’s Monday. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

One of two men charged in connection with a cocaine trafficking operation has been freed from prison.

Leroy Donald Thomas, 39, of St. John’s, was released following a brief appearance in provincial court in St. John’s Monday.

On the recommendation of Crown prosecutor Robin Fowler, Judge David Orr agreed to release Thomas on a recognizance with a $7,000 cash deposit.

He’s subject to several strict conditions, which include that he report to the RNC weekly, adhere to a curfew, possess no weapons, abstain from drugs and have no contact with a group of people, including his co-accused. He’s also prohibited from having a cellphone.

Thomas, who is represented by Jack Lavers, is due back in court April 23.

Thomas and Kurt Marshall Churchill, 37, of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, face a slew of charges after they were arrested Sunday by investigators from the combined forces special enforcement unit.

The Crown objected to releasing Churchill.

Fowler and Churchill’s lawyer, Erin Breen, agreed to schedule a bail hearing for Thursday.

Thomas and Churchill are jointly charged with conspiring to traffic in cocaine, unlawful storage of a firearm, possessing a weapon dangerous to the public (a Kel-Tec model P-11 9 mm handgun), failing to possess a licence for the gun, possessing a loaded firearm and possessing the gun knowing it was obtained by an offence.

Churchill faces additional charges of uttering threats to three different people, including a police officer and intimidation of a police officer.

The men were arrested as a result of a six-month investigation.

Through the use of a number of search warrants at two residences, police seized more than a half pound of cocaine, $335,000 in cash, a loaded 9 mm handgun from a vehicle, multiple rounds of ammunition, a stun gun and a set of brass knuckles, as well as a Toyota pickup truck.

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