A manager at a maximum-security federal prison in Ontario who was caught smuggling a substantial quantity of drugs last year, in a scheme apparently orchestrated by the Hells Angels biker gang, has been found dead. David Martin, 47, of Kingston, Ontario died Sunday, August 21. An obituary published by his family said only that Martin died “unexpectedly at home.” Kingston Police would not answer questions. Asked if detectives are investigating Martin’s death, spokeswoman Joanne Geike told me that she could not provide any information.
Martin had reportedly made one recent suicide attempt, sources told me. It is unclear if authorities believe his death was a suicide.
Martin was in charge of the institutional services unit at Millhaven penitentiary near Kingston when he was arrested in August last year and charged with seven counts of possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking. The arrest came a few days after a cache of $90,000 worth of marijuana, heroin, ecstasy pills and OxyContin pills was found. Millhaven is Ontario’s toughest pen, with a population of roughly 500 convicts, including about 150 in a maximum-security unit reserved for biker gang members, mobsters and other violent criminals.There are no sex offenders in Millhaven’s max unit. The drugs were being smuggled into the pen in an arrangement with the Hells Angels, prison sources have told me – biker gangs and other organized criminals often continue to peddle drugs inside prison. When the dope was seized and Martin was arrested, the bikers made it known that they considered it an unpaid debt, sources told me. It’s unclear if bikers or associates were leaning on Martin to repay that debt.
Martin worked in an area of the prison where shipments of goods are received. As the supervisor, he had significant freedom and control over the area. He would have been able to easily move packages through the area.
He cut a sweet deal with authorities, court records reveal. He pleaded guilty to two charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, trafficking in heroin and trafficking in oxycodone, and the five other charges were dropped. He got a light sentence of 90 days in jail and 12 months of probation. The sentence is remarkable, considering the current crackdown of the Conservative government, which is imposing more mandatory minimum sentences for drug criminals. Small time pot growers could face six months in jail under the changes. The federal government has said the measures are designed to crack down on traffickers connected to organized crime.
It’s possible that Martin also steered investigators to his biker gang connections as part of the deal. Those players would certainly have been considered bigger fish and more valuable targets for police. Giving them up likely would have endangered Martin’s life.
It’s not clear if the load of dope that was seized in August last year was the only shipment that Martin moved, though there is some evidence it was not. Prison sources say that in the weeks before the discovery, there was an uptick in violence at Millhaven, a change that can indicate a renewed flow of illegal drugs and/or booze. The violence included six assaults on correctional officers. Intoxicated and high prisoners become more belligerent and unpredictable and, other prisoners who don’t have access to the contraband also become more aggressive as they seek a supply. Staff at Millhaven, particularly correctional officers, were incensed when they learned of Martin’s smuggling, since it represented a significant threat to the safety of staff.
Senior bosses at Millhaven were so upset about the light sentence meted out to Martin that they complained directly to Crown prosecutors, sources said.
(On page 1 of the document below, the letters “WD” written beside five of the charges indicate that they were “withdrawn” by the prosecutor)
A screen grab of Martin’s obituary: