Man convicted of firearm offence running for city council in Transcona
Raymond Ulasy pleaded guilty in 2015 to trying to transfer firearms to an undercover police agent
A man who pleaded guilty to a weapons offence three years ago is running to represent Transcona in the Oct. 24 Winnipeg civic election.
Raymond Ulasy, who has run for council before, was charged with two counts of offering to traffic firearms to an undercover police agent in 2014. That charge was later stayed and he pleaded guilty in December 2015 to the lesser charge of trying to transfer weapons knowing he was not authorized to do so.
He was given a one-year conditional sentence that he served in the community, which included a one-year prohibition on owning firearms.
"In order to understand everything, you'd probably have to hear the whole story," said Ulasy, an addictions specialist who's chair of the Transcona Hi Neighbour Festival. He previously worked at the Aurora Recover Centre but was dismissed in May after his position was eliminated.
Ulasy, 54, was arrested as part of Project Distress, a police investigation that aimed to disrupt and destabilize organized crime in Manitoba.
Investigators focused on high-level members of drug trafficking cells, with connections to Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. During the 15-month covert investigation, officers used wiretaps to intercept more than 80,000 private conversations.
Ulasy, who lost to Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt in the 2014 election, said an undercover police agent dropped by his campaign headquarters on Regent Avenue E. that year.
He told Ulasy he was a voter, Ulasy said.
"It was just the discussion piece that I had with him and whatnot that was the problem," Ulasy said Thursday.
"I gave him information of where he could actually purchase firearms, sort of to get him off my plate."
The court heard evidence Ulasy told the police agent he had access to a cache of 20 guns that were buried under a friend's pool. No guns were ever seen or seized.
Ulasy said the reference to the pool was a story misconstrued by the agent. He said his friend was a gun collector who has since died.
"Our firearms laws are very strict," Ulasy said. "And there's some tough sentences that they hand out."
As part of Project Distress, police seized more than six kilograms of cocaine, eight kilograms of methamphetamine and smaller quantities of Dilaudid (a pain medication), oxycodone, steroids, Percocet and marijuana.
Ulasy was never under investigation or charged with drug offences. He denies knowing anyone else who was arrested under Project Distress.
Now that the one-year weapons prohibition has expired, Ulasy has returned to his hobby of hunting and taxidermy, he said. Ulasy and his wife own 24 guns, including handguns, he said.
'Bit of a pit bull'
When asked what changes he would like to see in Transcona, Ulasy said he would like to see infrastructure improvements that include repairing roads and making the neighbourhood more accessible for seniors and people with disabilities.
While he did not offer many details about his platform, Ulasy said what matters is he is qualified for the job.
"I've worked with some of the biggest companies in North America, consulting with them," he said.
"I'm one of those guys, a bit of a pit bull, who likes to get things done."
The other candidates vying for the Transcona council seat are Basil Evan, Steven Lipischak, Wally Welechenko, Shawn Nason, Shane Geschiere, Alex Allard (no relation to incumbent councillor Matt Allard) and Sandeep Kumar Sharma (no relation to incumbent councillor Devi Sharma). Wyatt is not running for re-election.
Under the City of Winnipeg Charter, virtually anyone can run for city council — candidates just have to be 18 years old, a Canadian citizen, a voter and not "disqualified under this or any other act."
Candidates with criminal records are not disqualified, although they can be disqualified if they have been found guilty of breaching the City of Winnipeg Charter, or any other act, and have not paid the fine owing.
With files from Caroline Barghout and Bartley Kives
- We initially reported that Chad Panting is one of the Transcona candidates. In fact, although Panting registered for the election, he did not complete the nomination process and will not appear on the ballot.Sep 21, 2018 9:40 AM CT