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Today In History
On July 8, 1905
Part of Angel Island allocated for Immigration Detention Center

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IF YOU’VE GOT QUESTIONS ABOUT SOLAR ENERGY ... Not all that long ago now President Barack Obama "announced that ... grants will be available for those wishing to do research in renewable energy ... such as wind [and] solar." The next day "German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG said ... it will acquire a 28 per cent stake in Archimede Solar Energy S.p.A. to expand its expertise in solar thermal power plants." Meanwhile, for mere mortals who just want to know more the OpenSolar blog in the San Francisco Bay Area has been expanding its resources for letting you "ask questions about solar technology and get personal answers from experienced solar professionals and installation owners." All this remains one big piece in the big new clean-energy future that lies ahead. You can check it out in depth at ABOUT OPEN SOLAR!

Written by Citizen X  
Monday, 02 February 2009  

So says a lady from Saint John, New Brunswick, who calls herself "upset mom." And she goes on: "could someone tell me how a family can sell drugs and guns, steal cars ... do anything they want for so long? ... you can say they are good people and dont break the law but WHY DID THEY SELL MY SON AND HIS FRIENDS COCAINE ? my son is in a rehab program now, he is only 16!" The Tingleys are the family in question. Their headquarters is a rural compound near Salisbury, New Brunswick (not far from Moncton). In some quarters they are known as the "Sopranos of Salisbury." Others might just see them as Trailer Park Boys in real life (except that they live in New Brunswick, and not Nova Scotia next door). However you see them, at some point soon enough eight Tingleys — five men and three women — are going on trial, on "a total of 57 charges of operating an organized crime ring that allegedly peddled drugs, weapons and firearms." It has been claimed that the "next court date is on FEB 2 to see when the Trial starts." Other sources just say: "The trial date will be set in February." Many questions remain. All we know for certain right now is that the Tingleys’ trial, whenever it comes, will be followed with great interest in the Moncton region — and beyond.

Introducing the Tingleys

The five male Tingleys who are now charged with various aspects of operating an organized crime ring that allegedly peddled drugs, weapons and firearms are Roger Tingley, 54 and his twin brother Rodney Tingley, 54, and then Rodney’s three sons, Michael Tingley, 32, Kevin Tingley, 30, and Christopher Tingley, 25.

Also charged are three women: Sharon Tingley, 49, Gail Tingley, 54, and Missy Tingley (also known as Melissa Patten), 32. Sharon and Gail Tingley are the wives of Roger and Rodney Tingley. Missy Tingley or Melissa Patten is the wife of Rodney’s son Michael.

It has been reported as well that, when the initial arrests were made in December 2008 a "ninth person was arrested ... but released." This ninth person was apparently a woman. So it would seem clear that the person involved was not "Steven Tingley, another of Rodney's sons."

Steven Tingley, however, has "created a Facebook page called ‘Support for The Tingley Family’." This page had as many as "174 members" just before Christmas 2008. On the page "Tingley writes that he's looking for people to support his family, adding that they've ‘been arrested for some stuff they didn't even do.’ He goes on to write that they're not an organized crime family and ‘most of you guys know that they are just like anyone else ... If any of you guys have met my mom and dad you know they are the most caring people.’"

Prelude: the fire, the family feud, and the start of the RCMP investigation in October 2007...

The RCMP investigation that led to the current charges against the Tingley family began in October 2007. But there was a kind of late September 2007 prelude here. It involved three fires in the Salisbury, New Brunswick area, which "destroyed David Hopper's $300,000 garage, Byron Hopper's large ‘high-end’ cottage and a third house not owned by either man but originally built by the Hoppers years ago."

The "brothers David and Byron Hopper" had already been "operating a successful contracting business when they won a $25.4-million Lotto 6-49 jackpot in December 2003, a near-record for Canadian lottery wins at the time ... By all accounts ... the brothers [had] been more than generous with their windfall, spreading it around not just to the rest of the family — and it's a big one — but to many individuals and even businesses in need."

At the same time, CanWest News Service also reported that: "A woman who identified herself on the phone yesterday as Byron Hopper's wife ... said the fires weren't the first problem for the families. ‘There's been many, many incidents — many. This has been leading up to this’ ... She said their ‘high-end’ cottage was ‘burnt to the ground,’ but refused to comment on anything else. ‘This for the safety of our family. We have children and grandchildren.’ ...

"The families are not under police protection, but the RCMP have added patrols in the area ... Reached by phone, David Hopper confirmed that heavy equipment on land the brothers had subdivided had been vandalized with gravel put into the gas tanks. He refused further comment."

Others in the Salisbury area thought they knew who was responsible for the Hopper brothers’ grief. And they made their suspicions known to Rod Allen of the Moncton Times & Transcript. The Tingley family, many in the community thought, was the guilty party.

Rod Allen’s newspaper article carried on: "Some of the Tingley youngsters are catching it at school and that's not fair, says Roger Tingley, who lives with his wife on the Middlesex Road just a few miles south of the village ...

"‘It looks like these arson cases were solved by the public before the fires were even put out,’ he says ... ‘My whole family, at least eight names have been mentioned over the past days, have all been found guilty and I just wish the public had all the facts to go on first ... ‘I personally do not condone these fires at all. I have no idea who might have done them and when they solve this crime I say let the cards fall where they may.’

"Tingley [Rod Allen continued] understands full well that he has to be careful what he says next. He draws no connection between fires and any other circumstances or occurrences anywhere in the Salisbury area, but says the whole town has been linking the fires to a feud between the Hoppers and the Tingleys ... It's just not true, he says ...

"The fact is there's a business dispute going on between the Hopper brothers and one member of the Tingley family ... If there is a relationship between that dispute and the occurrences this week, that's up to the police to figure out, he says, but in the meantime the public should understand that the Tingleys are for the most part law-abiding citizens ...

"Roger Tingley admits he is no angel, and that he is not the only member of the clan to have had a brush or two with the law. ‘I was in trouble for break-and-enter and so on, upsetting cars, impaired driving, stuff like that; but a lot of kids from other families around here had their troubles back then, not just the Tingleys.’ Tingley says he hasn't been in any trouble for a long time, has quit drinking and just wants to get along with his neighbours."

Operation Jekyll and the RCMP raid on the Tingley compound in December 2008 ...

Whatever Roger Tingley’s neighbours might have thought about his comments in the Moncton Times & Transcript, the local Mounties (or RCMP) were especially sceptical. They began their investigation into the Tingley family’s activities in October 2007.

Their suspicions (like those of the neighbours) were heightened by the garish but quite professional-looking sign at the entrance to the "Tingley Compound" — which also bore the motto "What you see here ... What you do here ... What you hear here ... STAYS HERE!"

The RCMP investigation was codenamed Operation Jekyll. According to the official news release at the end of things: "The case has proven to be a difficult one for police as witnesses have been leery about coming forward to provide evidence. As such, for the first time in New Brunswick, a 2002 amendment to a Section of the Criminal Code of Canada focusing on Organized Crime was utilized. If convicted, sentences will be served consecutively, meaning for each conviction the guilty party will have to serve each individual sentence. This can result in a very lengthy prison sentence depending on the number and scope of the charges."

The RCMP news release noted as well that Roger, Rodney, Michael, Kevin, Chris, Sharon, Gail, and Missy Tingley "have been collectively charged with 57 offences. Among the charges are conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, OxyContin, marijuana, contraband tobacco, weapons and firearms, and being members of an organized crime group."

The last paragraph added: "A number of arsons in the area were also part of the police investigation. Although no charges have yet been laid in those cases, further charges and arrests are pending."

Having spent more than a year gathering evidence, the Mounties were finally ready for action. On December 11, 2008 the Moncton Times & Transcript reported that: "More than 100 RCMP members from across New Brunswick descended on eight homes simultaneously in the countryside around Salisbury before dawn yesterday, arresting five men and four women and dismantling what the force is calling a criminal organization .. At ground zero of the investigation, a Middlesex Road property described as ‘The Tingley Compound’ by a professionally made sign, an impressive looking RCMP Mobile Command Centre is set up ...

"The command centre belongs to H Division, the Nova Scotia RCMP, and was brought in from Halifax. Marked police cruisers dispersed throughout the region bore code numbers identifying their regular patrol areas as places like Oromocto and Miramichi ... By mid-morning, the first Porta-Potties were being delivered, suggesting RCMP members were setting up for the long haul."

The newspaper report concluded with: "Meanwhile, another home raided in Middlesex, one within sight of the Tingley compound, had a handmade sign in the door of the garage that read, ‘Att — RCMP — Keep harassing me all nite long if you insist. If you do, don't blame me if signs appear about your affair at Salisbury Ultramar and what goes on at Parkindale Camp?’ ...

"If the sign implied a threat or spoke of something else entirely, there were no signs the RCMP looked intimidated yesterday as they moved freely throughout the raided properties ... Said one police officer, as he looked at more than a dozen marked and unmarked police vehicles of every shape and size gathered at the Tingley compound, ‘our gang is bigger than their gang.’"

As already noted, only three of the four women originally detained were finally charged. The RCMP press release on Operation Jekyll described the ultimate disposition of the resulting five men and three women: "Rodney Tingley, Michael Tingley, Kevin Tingley and Chris Tingley have been remanded into custody until a bail hearing scheduled for December 17 and 18, 2008 in Moncton Provincial Court. Roger Tingley is currently in hospital and will appear in court at a later date but has been charged. Sharon Tingley, Gail Tingley and Missy Tingley have been released on strict conditions. "

Developments in late December 2008 and January 2009 ... and what may or may not lie ahead?

On Friday, December 19, 2008 the Moncton Times & Transcript reported that bail hearings for the Tingley men in custody (including Roger, who was actually in hospital, as noted above) "were adjourned until ... some time after Christmas."

By the end of December the Tingley men had either been denied bail (in two cases) or temporarily waived their rights to bail hearings. On December 30 they all appeared in court and "chose trial by judge only."

They "told the judge they wanted information on how police received authorization for their search warrants ... The Crown prosecutor said some of that information had been passed along. But the lawyer acting on behalf of the Tingleys for the day said the information was on a hard drive and the Tingleys don't have access to a computer in jail ...

"The lawyer acting for the Tingleys also asked the judge to set a preliminary hearing date as soon as possible. But the judge decided to wait to set a date until the other three family members [i.e. the three women charged] appear in court on Jan. 12." Meanwhile, CBC News reported, the "five Tingley men remain in custody."

On January 12, 2009 CBC New Brunswick reported: "A Crown prosecutor has provided laptops to jailed members of the Tingley family so they can have access to the evidence that led to a massive December raid on their properties."

On the same day all eight Tingleys — men and women — "appeared in court before Judge Jolene Richard. The women elected to be tried by judge alone in Court of Queen's Bench, which is the same election the men made Dec. 30." (The three women, it was noted in the January 13 Times & Transcript report as well, "were in court but are not in custody. They face far fewer charges and were released on conditions after their Dec. 10 arrest.")

The January 13 Times & Transcript report went on: "Defence lawyer Scott Fowler represented all the accused in court yesterday and said they wanted to waive their right to a preliminary hearing and proceed to trial. A preliminary hearing was expected to take as long as four weeks, so waiving that hearing will likely result in an earlier trial date ...

"Crown prosecutor Michel Bertrand told the judge an indictment will be filed with the Court of Queen's Bench and a trial will be scheduled some time after that ... While Fowler and his brother James Fowler have represented the Tingleys in court over the last month, neither will represent them at trial. The defence lawyer told the judge yesterday the accused have all applied for Legal Aid representation for their trial."

A parallel January 13 report in the Saint John Telegraph-Journal indicated: "The trial date will be set in February."

On January 25, 2009 a comment to a related CBC report on the web, from an apparently well-informed individual known as hatguy521, indicated: "So the next court date is on FEB 2 to see when the Trial starts i hope for their sakes they can get threw the disclosure since they are only allowed to use the computer like 2 hours a day witch everyone else get to walk around with theirs on paper i don't think this is really fair."

With a bit of help from the counterweights legal staff (I hope), I will be continuing to follow the adventures in court of the eight Tingley family members who have been charged — as best I can.

Whatever else, the story makes you wonder about law and order in our kind of society today. And the big questions remain: Are the Tingleys really "trash," and should they "be locked up for a long time"? Or is Steven Tingley right, when he says "that they're not an organized crime family and ‘most of you guys know that they are just like anyone else ... If any of you guys have met my mom and dad you know they are the most caring people’"?


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Last Updated ( Monday, 27 April 2009 )

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