The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is seeking witnesses who may be able to shed light on a sudden death on a walking trail in the east end of St. John's. 

Police car by Virginia River

A Royal Newfoundland Constabulary cruiser keeps watch in an area of the Virginia River where a man's body was found on Tuesday evening. (Cecil Haire/CBC)

Sources confirm for CBC News that the 34-year-old man found Tuesday night in the water along the Virginia River trail was Jason English, a drug dealer who was known for run-ins with the law over a number of years. 

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said the death is not suspicious. Police said the body was discovered by someone who was passing by on the trail. 

English was convicted of aggravated assault in November 2010, for biting off part of the ear of a bouncer at a downtown St. John's bar. 

In 2012, he made headlines again when he was convicted under the Dog Act because his pit bull had destroyed another dog in the Georgestown neighbourhood of St. John's. He had been convicted in a separate case involving his pit bulls in 2007, after two of his dogs attacked another dog near Quidi Vidi Lake. 

His body was discovered around 7 p.m. near the trail, in the East Meadows neighbourhood of St. John's, along a trail that leads to Virginia Lake. 

Paramedics brought English to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police officers were still on the scene on Wednesday morning, and had marked off a significant area of the trail near Virginia Lake with yellow tape. 

The office of the chief medical examiner will be determining the cause of death.