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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Early parole near for convicted hashish smuggler
    Tried to go from rag trade to drug riches

    A former Chabanel St. businessman who switched from importing textiles to smuggling hashish will soon be released on early parole.

    Peter Toman, 62, is serving an 11-year prison term he received in 2006 after pleading guilty to conspiring to smuggle more than 22 tonnes of hashish into Canada. He was arrested along with international drug trafficker Sidney Lallouz, 60, in Project Chabanel, an RCMP investigation where the Mounties sent their undercover officers, posing as a ship's crew, to pick up the drug from a supplier 300 kilometres off the coast of Angola.

    Because he is serving his first federal sentence and his crime is not considered violent, Toman qualified for an accelerated parole review.

    The laws that govern the National Parole Board require that an offender be granted a full release at the one-third mark of his sentence unless the board is given reason to believe he will commit a violent crime before his sentence ends.

    Toman, a former Town of Mount Royal resident, was found to be "arrogant and condescending" with staff at a halfway house when he started out on day parole in 2008. According to a written summary of the parole board's recent decision, his attitude improved as he came closer to being eligible for full parole.

    Toman is married to Catherine Cosgrove, director of Heritage Home, a drug and alcohol treatment centre in Huntingdon. The Gazette has learned that Toman recruited James Frederick Cameron, a former heroin addict who was working for Cosgrove at the centre, to make arrangements to find a ship and crew willing to pick up the large shipment of hashish.

    Cameron eventually became disillusioned with the idea of smuggling drugs into Canada while helping addicts at the centre and decided to turn to the RCMP for help.

    Cameron, who now lives under another identity, became an undercover agent and provided information that produced Project Chabanel and led to the arrests of Toman and Lallouz and a few other men described by the RCMP as an importation cell of the West End Gang, an organization that originated out of Montreal's Irish community.

    Court documents linked to the case indicate at least one well-known member of the West End Gang had an interest in the doomed shipment even if he wasn't among those arrested.

    No criminal charges were filed against Cosgrove.

    Lallouz received a six-year sentence in Project Chabanel.

    Toman has denied to the parole board that he has ties to the West End Gang. But a report submitted to the board by the Correctional Service of Canada alleges he is still associated with the organization.

    According to the written summary, "(Toman's) case management team observed that you were evasive and vague when it comes to the extent of your criminal behaviour, and it suspects a deep involvement in criminal activities for some time."

    As part of the conditions of his release, Toman is not allowed to enter casinos or places where there are video lottery terminals. He is also required to provide a parole officer with an accounting of his revenue and expenses every two months.

    MARCH 10, 2010



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