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Anti-abortionist James Kopp is escorted from his trial in Buffalo, N.Y. in March of 2003. (GARY WIEPERT/REUTERS)
Anti-abortionist James Kopp is escorted from his trial in Buffalo, N.Y. in March of 2003. (GARY WIEPERT/REUTERS)

The tipster, the police and the unpaid reward Add to ...

“I helped the FBI and Canadian police arrest a killer – one of the most wanted men in the world,” he writes on the site. “I helped because it was the right thing to do. But I also did it for the money. … After the murderer’s arrest and conviction, the FBI paid me. …But the Canadian police groups … won’t pay me a dime. The lesson? When you’re dealing with Canadian police, a promise made is not a promise kept.”

Mr. Steele said the site was meant as “a resource – and a warning – for other tipsters.”

But it soon led him back into the world of police informants – work he described as “exciting, man – it’s a high.”

The drug lord

Mr. Steele said a man he will identify only as “the Mexican” contacted him through CanadianPoliceReward.org about problems he’d had collecting a reward from U.S. police. As the two talked, Mr. Steele said, the Mexican told him about a Canadian cocaine dealer he knew of: Mr. Gisby, who was known as The Tank.

“He got a tattoo on one leg, this tattoo is the skull and body of the monster of Iron Maiden, the rock band … He got friends in Vancouver airport, that’s the way he can send the cocaine …Tom always is in a very low profile, but he is one of the most important drug lords in Canada,” the Mexican told him in an e-mail.

Mr. Steele said Mr. Gisby transferred huge amounts of money – $5-million at a time – through underworld banks, or “stash houses,” in Vancouver, Montreal and Mexico City.

And he said Mr. Gisby’s group smuggled drugs in containers that had been “sniff tested” by dogs.

“They have a training facility in Mexico City or someplace in Mexico, where intentionally they do dry runs and make sure that whatever they send, in whatever manner they send [it] is not being pointed on by the dogs,” he said.

At the time of his death last April, Mr. Gisby had a low profile in B.C., although he was in the news briefly in January, 2012, when he was the target of a bomb attack in Whistler.

Three months after the bombing attempt, he was shot in a Starbucks in Mexico, prompting police in Vancouver to hold a press conference, at which they identified him as “a significant player in the drug world” and warned that his death could trigger renewed gang violence in B.C.

Mr. Gisby was known to be associated with the Dhak-Duhre crime group, which was fighting for control of B.C.’s rich drug trade with the Red Scorpions, Independent Soldiers and Hells Angels. The stakes in that war escalated in 2011, when Jonathan Bacon, head of the Red Scorpions, was shot dead outside a casino hotel in Kelowna.

Mr. Steele said he contacted the RCMP about Mr. Gisby in 2010, hoping the information he had got from the Mexican would bring down a drug cartel and provide leverage to reopen talks on the Kopp reward.

But he said police never followed up with him, and Mr. Gisby was subsequently murdered. Mr. Steele came back to the RCMP recently offering more information, saying the crime syndicate has continued to operate between Mexico and B.C.

“John Gotti is dead but the Mafia is still alive. Just because Tom Gisby is dead doesn’t mean that, you know, the organization and the infrastructure and the movement of drugs isn’t being done,” he said.

But Mr. Steele said the RCMP again refused to revisit the reward issue – and the proposed talks never happened.

“I’m willing to negotiate…but [RCMP Superintendent] Brian Cantera says, no way,” Mr. Steele said.

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