well-known gangster who has been targeted in both a 2009 shooting and a later sledgehammer attack pleaded guilty this week to three firearms charges.
Tyler Willock, who has been associated to both the Independent Soldiers and the Red Scorpions, entered his pleas in Surrey Provincial Court Monday as his trial was scheduled to begin. He will be sentenced in July.
Willock had faced eight counts in all following a July 21, 2008 incident in Langley, after which he was arrested by the Gang Task Force.
He pleaded guilty to just three of the charges — careless use of a firearm, occupying a vehicle in which there was a firearm and possessing a prohibited firearm with ammunition.
Willock was in a vehicle in Surrey that was targeted by gunfire in February 2009.
Three people linked to the rival United Nations gang were later charged. Less than a month later, Willock was severely beaten with a sledgehammer in Langley. A former associate linked to the Red Scorpions was charged. Both cases remain before the courts.
Task force spokesman Sgt. Shinder Kirk, said the guilty pleas are good news for law enforcement and the community.
“This was in fact a Gang Task Force case. We are certainly pleased that there was a guilty plea,” Kirk said. “These investigations are often extremely complex and it is positive that we garnered a guilty plea in this case.”
In many cases where people are charged after being found in a vehicle with a firearm, the charges are stayed because the Crown can’t prove the person had knowledge of the firearm.
Just last month in Prince George, prosecutors stayed seven firearms charges against Prince George gangster Frankie Meerholz and two associates who were charged when police pulled over Meerholz’s vehicle in October 2009 and found a loaded 9-millimetre gun in the pocket immediately behind the front passenger seat.
A Crown spokesman said the charges were stayed because there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove any one of the three had possession of the gun.
In another gun-in-vehicle case, a B.C. Supreme Court judge threw out both firearms and drug charges Monday against a man named Kay Phengchanh, ruling his Charter rights were violated when police searched his vehicle in 2007 and found a .38-calibre Beretta pistol.
Phengchanh was pulled over in New Westminster for a broken mirror, but when police did a computer check, his name came back as being linked to an Asian gang and the vehicle as having been used in an earlier kidnapping in Abbotsford.