Items seized by Salmon Arm RCMP in November 2010 included a sawed-off shotgun

Hells Angel faces seven-year term

Arrest in Salmon Arm: Judge hears sentencing arguments on weapons charges.

  • Dec. 11, 2014 12:00 p.m.

By Kathy Michaels
Black Press

A Kelowna-based Hells Angel and his associate each face up to seven years in prison for driving around with a heavy arsenal of weapons.

Joseph Skreptak and Cory Montemurro were convicted earlier this year on 11 weapons-related charges for an incident that happened in November 2010.

At a sentencing hearing that started Monday,  Dec. 8, Crown counsel Sandra Dworkin told  BC Supreme Court Justice Al Betton that the crimes committed require a significant sentence, especially when set against a backdrop of growing gun violence across the province.

“This court knows there have been a number of more public shootings, especially in B.C.,” Dworkin said, noting that death and serious injury are only “an impulse away” when one chooses to carry a loaded firearm.

And judges, she added, have publicly been criticized for taking positions that are too lenient when sentencing those caught illegally possessing loaded firearms.

Dworkin also pointed out that in cases such as Skreptak’s and Montemurro’s, “where there is no legitimate use for the arsenal,” the focus in sentencing should be on denunciation and deterrence. Rehabilitation is secondary.

Skreptak and Montemurro, along with two others who had charges against them dropped, were driving just outside Salmon Arm on a snowy winter night when a police officer pulled them over.

When the officer made his way to the vehicle, he smelled marijuana.

Dworkin said  the officer noted at that time he had pulled the car over in an isolated area, there were four people in the vehicle and he was alone.

With that in mind, he made the decision to walk away from the vehicle, call in another officer and pull the vehicle over again, closer to the city limits of Salmon Arm.

When they did pull over the car a second time, a more thorough search was conducted and police found ample cause to arrest the men in the vehicle.

The first thing they found was a sawed-off shotgun in a shopping bag.

Dworkin hauled out that court exhibit at the sentencing hearing. The bag, she explained, was not used to carry the gun around.

There was a hole cut in the bottom, large enough for the gun’s barrel to poke through. Dworkin indicated the bag was merely used to disguise the weapon when it was held.

Dworkin then explained that the night the vehicle was towed to the police detachment to be searched, it offered even more evidence against the Hells Angel and his associate.

There was a cellphone jammer,  body armour, walkie talkies,  boxer shorts that were ripped in such a way that they could be used as a mask, nine rounds of .38-cal ammunition, knives, bear spray, shotgun shells, a bat and a loaded 9-mm CZ pistol registered to Montemurro.

At the trial, Skreptak was the only witness to speak on behalf of defence, and he said that he had no idea the weapons were in the car.

He claimed he was just looking for some real estate on the late-night tour through the Interior.

The trial judge rejected that story.

Defence lawyers Don Skogstad and  Kelly Christiansen have asked Betton to consider  lighter sentences.

For Skreptak, Christiansen asked for a sentence of four years.

Skogstad, who noted that there would be an appeal down the road, argued for a three-year term.

Justice Betton has been asked to wait to offer his sentence until January, so the men can have “their last Christmas with their families.”

Just Posted

Don’t let mosquitoes take a bite out of summer enjoyment

Tips from Interior Health to limit the mosquito problem

Mercury rises in the Okanagan-Shuswap

Temperatures reach about 36 C with humidex in the Okanagan and Shuswap

Stay safe in the heat

Hot sun can cause burns and life-threatening illness

Commercial/residential development planned for foreshore

Salmon Arm project near regional district building goes to hearing

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

VIDEO: Vernon-area students read for rank

RCMP visited JW Inglis on Wednesday as part of the Read with Me and the RCMP program.

New Jersey forward Taylor Hall wins Hart Trophy as NHL MVP

Vancouver’s Sedin brothers share King Clancy Award for humanitarian efforts

Unfiltered: IPAs explained with Cannery Brewing brewmaster

Checking out the new IPA created by Penticton brewery Cannery Brewing Company

Man gets 2 years in prison for assault on Okanagan Correctional officer

Union rep said inmate sucker punched correctional officer, continued assault after officer fell

50 new fires sparked in B.C. after lightning strikes across province

Similar conditions seen at the beginning of 2017 wildfire season

B.C. woman graduates high school at age 92

Nanaimo’s Joan Deebank the oldest high school graduate ever in B.C., as far as ministry can confirm

B.C. Appeal Court rules lottery winner must be paid back $600,000 loan

Enone Rosas won $4.1 million in a lottery in 2007 and loaned a portion to a friend

B.C. man surprised after used needle falls from sky

A Vernon resident said a syringe fell out of the sky and landed at his feet

Liquor review finds issues with B.C. wholesale monopoly

Report calls for ‘conflict of interest’ in system to be fixed

Most Read