When city cops burst in on a gang initiation party looking for drugs, there was no question they were in the right place.
Party-goers wore clothing with the gang’s name on it — including the man later identified as its leader.
“He was wearing ‘The Machine’ T-shirt, which is black and had ‘The Machine’ written on it with green and white flames,” a Brandon police constable testified during a preliminary hearing earlier this year.
Details of what police officers found during the raid can be shared now that the man said to have been the gang’s leader has been sentenced.
Michael Ray Doucette, 42, was sentenced to three years in prison for possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. Justice John Menzies imposed the sentence during a hearing in Brandon Court of Queen’s Bench on Monday after Crown attorney Patrick Flynn outlined some of the facts.
Flynn said a source told Brandon police that Doucette was selling cocaine in the city with the help of a number of people in the area and they called themselves The Machine.
On March 13, 2011, around 6 a.m., police found a party underway as they raided a home on the 800-block of 12th Street.
Doucette was arrested, searched and found with a key in his pocket that unlocked a safe stashed in the closet of a basement bedroom.
Inside the safe was about 48 grams of cocaine, 14 tablets of ecstasy and $2,070 cash.
Flynn said Doucette was the leader of the gang, which was selling cocaine at the “street level.”
During a preliminary hearing in January of this year, two constables described the scene they found in the home.
Tactical Response Unit members entered first at 6 a.m., followed shortly by members of the vice unit.
Despite the early hour, it appeared a party was underway.
The main floor was in disarray. Garbage, small packages of marijuana, empty bottles and cans of alcohol, cocaine-stained mirrors and drug paraphernalia littered the area.
One green mirror had “The Machine” written on it and a substance that appeared to be cocaine was in plain view. There was a rolled up $20 bill beside the mirror.
About a dozen people were in the home and they wore clothing with “The Machine” written on them, including T-shirts.
In the kitchen, officers found an invoice for the clothing printed with Doucette’s name and the address of the house, and a book with the words, “This journal belongs to The Machine,” written on the cover.
The logbook listed prices for cocaine and marijuana, potential profit and the names of people believed to be drug dealers.
The evidence described by officers was provided at a preliminary hearing and wasn’t tested at trial.
The Machine hasn’t been mentioned in any police reports or court cases since the raid.
The man said to have been the gang’s leader is a former military man who thought of joining the ministry before he ran afoul of the law.
He said he has recently sought counselling and is taking medication to deal with post traumatic stress disorder and credits the drug raid with putting him on a better path.
“It’s been this incident that made me realize there was something wrong,” Doucette said during sentencing, adding he was once a drug user but has been clean for a year.
Defence lawyer Norm Sims said Doucette joined the military in 1988 and served with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
During nine years in the military, he worked as a combat engineer whose duties included constructing and deconstructing land mines and bombs. He served in Iraq, Somalia and in Bosnia, where he was wounded.
He was honourably discharged from the military in 1997, earned a bachelor of theology degree and thought of entering the ministry but opted to work in construction instead.
He then got into trouble and logged the first entry on his criminal record at the age of 32.
Sims said Doucette has had difficulty sleeping due to flashbacks, and trouble with authority, since leaving the military.
Four other people received varying sentences for simple drug possession in relation to the raid.