Facing more gun charges

A man police have called a “long-time Independent Soldiers gang member” was sentenced to five and a half years in jail in Kelowna court last week, but he still faces firearms charges in Chilliwack later this month.

Donahugh McWhirter was arrested along with his girlfriend on Nov. 4, 2014, after police pulled them over on the Coquihalla Highway and found hundreds of grams of methamphetamine and an analogue of MDMA in their trunk. The arrests were the culmination of a nine-month police investigation.

Three months later, police raided the couple's Lake Country home and found several boxes of brand new Independent Soldiers clothing, along with two guns, a pill press machine and other drug trafficking paraphernalia.

McWhirter was prohibited from possessing firearms at the time, stemming from two domestic assault convictions in 2012.

He pleaded guilty to two drug trafficking charges and four firearms charges in February and was sentenced last Friday.

On July 16, McWhirter is scheduled to begin a trial in Chilliwack Supreme Court on two weapons charges, and a breach of bail charge.

McWhirter was out on bail on his other drugs and weapons charges at the time of these alleged offences.

During his sentencing for the convictions in Kelowna court,, McWhirter told the court he had left the gang life, and the boxes of Independent Soldiers clothing in his house were simply “memorabilia.”

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia, a special anti-gang police force, began investigating McWhirter in the spring of 2014 after receiving reports he was recruiting new members for the Independent Soldiers for a “planned resurgence of the notorious gang.”

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