Feature Articles

June 2002

Killer Cory:
The Story The Mounties Don't Want Told

The Dimmock Report probes the life of an underworld
enforcer turned Mounties' agent who was paid thousands
in tax dollars to infiltrate his outlaw friends.

By Gary Dimmock

Gary Dimmock is an investigative reporter for The Ottawa Citizen, Canada's capital newspaper, and host of In the past 10 years, investigative reporter Gary Dimmock has uncovered evidence that has re-opened old murder cases, tracked down killers who have gone unpunished at home and abroad, and proved the innocence of three men condemned to prison for life.
What the critics say:
  • "Superb, tireless reporting told as compellingly as any best-selling thriller - resulting in the reopening of a crime case that had troubled the justice system for more than a decade. This is work at a level that all enterprise reporting should aspire to achieve. It's also proof that sometimes great journalism can make a difference."
    Atlantic Journalism Awards
  • "Exhaustively researched stories on the underworld and good writing."
    Atlantic Journalism Awards
  • "Gary Dimmock stands out for his tenacity, skill and vigour. Another reporter could still seek to match or beat Mr. Dimmock, but ... that would be daunting. The odds of finding a new angle are low."
    Globe and Mail

  •       They met on an old logging road under a pitch-black sky in southern Ontario.

          Cory Patterson arrived two hours early, trudging a mile in every direction to make sure all was clear. He thought the police were going to kill him.

          The two policemen finally arrived, their unmarked cruiser crunching slowly toward him. He shone a flashlight in their faces, yelled "freeze."

          He wanted to show them he was in control; but part of him just wanted to rattle them.

          This was the night he began to "roll over" - taking his first cautious steps out from the underworld and into a life as an undercover police agent.

          To the police, he seemed the perfect recruit. A natural. His years in organized crime had earned him a reputation as an enforcer. Known as a "money-maker," he was a specialist when it came to collecting drug debts.

          His presence alone was usually enough to instill fear. Sometimes he'd put a gun to their heads. Other times he'd threaten to slash their little girl's throat if they didn't pay up.

          Patterson was a career criminal, an outlaw who tried his hand at everything. Extortion, insurance fraud - all the moneymakers. He pimped in a prostitution ring, sold drugs and ran small shipments of guns across the U.S. border, often converting them to fully automatic. A hired gun, suspected fraud artist and self-styled white supremacist, he had tight ties to outlaw bikers in Toronto and loose connections to mercenaries in South America.

          In Barrie, Ont., an hour's drive north of Toronto, he was feared by both sides of the law, mostly for being unpredictable. Nobody ever knew when he'd lose control, swing a pool cue at their heads or slam them into the wall for no reason. His nicknames included The Shark and, because he often wore army fatigues, Rambo.

          When it came to money, he targeted most anyone - even other drug dealers. He "shut down" other operations all the time; he once held up a street seller who dealt Mafia drugs. Instead of retaliating, a Toronto crime family operative fined the cocaine dealer as a penalty for being weak and easy to stick up.

          He ran a hold-up ring in which teen-agers often paid him a cut from break and enters and other robberies. If all went well, there was usually an all-nighter at the local Holiday Inn. The bigger the job, the bigger the party.

          Five-foot-10 and 205 pounds, Patterson had had run-ins with the law dating back to 1976 when he was 18 - everything from conspiring to traffic, assault, obstruction of justice to carrying restricted firearms and bombs.

          It would be nothing for him to shout death threats across a crowded room or grab someone by the throat and wave a knife in their face.

          He was as brazen as they come, and always armed.

          CORY Patterson (a.k.a. Cory Joseph Segato) spent most days looking over his shoulder; at night, he slept with a .357 magnum at his side. The hired gun had crossed too many people, too many times.

          The son of an Italian, furniture shopkeeper, Patterson knew if he stayed the course he'd wind up dead in a ditch someday.

          The "enforcer" was growing out of his bravado and longed for a new, safer life. "I knew I would slip up on the job one day and get a cap right in the head," he says.

          Even when he agreed to become a RCMP agent, he recalls, the force "couldn't believe it." Over time, he gained their trust by passing on accurate tips, mostly stickups and drug runs.

          "It showed them I meant business.

          First coded as a source in November 1990, Patterson would be interviewed several times before signing his first undercover contract with the RCMP.

          The Mounties offered him a salary and expense-account living to keep him on their team. But keeping him in line would prove more troublesome. On the side, he remained active in the underworld.

          "I got greedy," recalls Patterson, now 39.

          With his new job as a police agent, he said, came this sense of "immunity." The outlaws knew nothing and the police left him alone because they thought he was on their side.

          In fact, he was working for both of them.

          It was obvious his first-hand knowledge of the underworld outweighed the problems that followed him.

          "0.3498 is easily excited and suffers from short attention span. He did not perform well unless closely supervised," a 1993 agent assessment stated.

          Yet the same assessment described the agent as a solid operator who gathered intelligence "virtually unchallenged.

          That Patterson himself was an outlaw made it easy for him to rat out the drug underworld. His underworld cohorts would never have believed he was an undercover RCMP agent, not in their wildest dreams.

          "I have a very unique way of manipulating people. I would let them come into my web and then attack them. I get people to believe that I'm their friend.

          "You are conducting espionage so you learn everything about them and use all of their likes and dislikes against them.

          Beside, he says, most of the people he's taken down "aren't exactly rocket scientists.

          His biggest undercover operation, code-named Project Ice, must have been a walk in the park. The main target of the probe was a long-time friend of Patterson. Paul "Sunny" Braybrook, then sergeant-at-arms of Toronto outlaw motorcycle gang Para-Dice Riders, had hired Patterson to collect drug debts.

          They pumped iron together, partied and sometimes double dated with their "old ladies.

          "My reputation with the Para-Dice Riders made it easy to infiltrate them," Patterson recalls.

          With relative ease, Patterson was able to introduce a new player to the scene: RCMP undercover veteran Corporal Joe Smith. Members of the Para-Dice Riders had a tough time checking out his story.

          Smith dropped only a few names of known underworld figures, mostly from British Columbia. He said he had been keeping a low profile for a few years because he was on the lam.

          Smith said he had inherited a bundle of cash and was looking for ways to spend it. The cover story kept outlaws from digging deep into his past because their eyes were fixed on making money.

          The undercover operator also told them he wanted to buy guns, particularly sawed-off machine guns normally used in armed bank robberies.

          There would also be cocaine buys along the way.

          For awhile, no one suspected a thing. Even when they did, the last person they thought would "roll over" was Patterson.

          He continued to buy drugs and accept assignments as a hired gun. But now, those who did business with him in the presence of his undercover partner ended up in court.

          KENNETH Edward Bland was one of the sorry ones. On Dec. 7, 1992, Patterson, accompanied by Cpl. Smith, paid a visit to Bland's Grocery in Alcona Beach, outside Barrie, Ont. They had originally set out to buy drugs from the 66-year-old store owner. But when they showed, Bland said he had just sold his last Percocet, a prescription-only painkiller.

          Bland, a plumber turned small-time guns and drug dealer, had something else in mind. He knew Patterson's reputation as an enforcer and asked if he and his partner were interested in "doing a job" for him. He explained that the family store across the road was tough competition, driving him out of business. He wanted Patterson and his partner to blow it up with the family inside.

          Bland agreed to pay $2,000 for the hit, Barrie police files show. The undercover agents said they needed some money "up front." Bland said he was broke but agreed to a payment plan.

          He handed over the first envelope on Feb. 6, 1993.

          "I can't wait for you guys to blow up Becker's and those Koreans to kingdom come," Bland said.

          He feared someone would find out about the plot but when they asked him if he still wanted to go through with it he said yes. "I have to. They are killing me. I can't make any money while they're still open," said Bland, a sturdy, grey-haired man whose left-shoulder tattoo read: "Mom Didn't Love You.

          Once they set the time and day, Bland laughed and quipped, "I guess I'll take a holiday the following weekend and go somewhere.

          Two months later, Bland was arrested along with 39 other targets in a massive pre-dawn police raid, the culmination of the six-month drug investigation, Project Ice. He was charged with counselling to commit murder and arson.

          A year later, on June 24, 1994, after nearly 24 hours of deliberations, a 10-member jury found him guilty of murder-contract crimes. Bland couldn't believe it; he was in shock. One hour before he was to be sentenced, he killed himself by downing a handful of pills. His body was found slumped in his car. A half-empty bottle of liquor and a .38-calibre handgun lay next to him.

          At the week-long trial, Bland's defence lawyer had said the accusations were false and that the RCMP agent showed little credibility. Glenn Krelove told jurors that Patterson had testified so many times in trials stemming from Project Ice that "he thinks he's a professional witness.

          In a show of stinging wit, he told the court: "If we invited him back for an encore performance as a witness I'm sure he would jump.

          "Needless to say Cory has discovered a gold mine and he isn't about to let it go," Krelove told the court.

          Members of the criminal community today believe Bland was framed, ensnared in the probe for off-the-cuff comments and then prodded by police.

          His former associates described him as harmless and generous - so kind he'd do whatever you wanted of him.

          Prosecutors at his trial said Bland found himself in financial crisis because he kept showering family with lavish gifts. In her sketch of a desperate man, Crown attorney Pam Burke said he was going "bankrupt by his generosity.

          THE police raids began just before sunrise.

          On April 15, 1993, more than 100 commando-trained police - RCMP and Ontario Provincial Police - swooped on their targets.

          Jolting most from sleep, police arrested 40 suspects in all, seizing thousands of dollars worth of crack cocaine, LSD, hashish, marijuana and angel dust; they also seized weapons.

          Five of the suspects arrested were members of the outlaw motorcycle gang Para-Dice Riders.

          When they busted into Paul "Sunny" Braybrook's family home, the police seized a bag of cocaine and a semi-automatic weapon. The Para-Dice Riders' sergeant-at-arms and motorcycle-show promoter was not alone in his incredulity.

          "Following arrest, many accused still expressed utter disbelief that they could have been betrayed by such a close and trusted former associate," Cpl. M.P. Maloney of the Barrie Joint Forces Drug Squad wrote in a Aug. 13, 1993 agent assessment.

          The corporal also condemned the agent in the otherwise glowing report.

          "He did not perform well unless closely supervised... 0.3498 required almost continuous supervision in order to maintain any measure of motivation.

          Cpl. Maloney then commended handlers for giving the agent solid direction.

          The corporal also reported RCMP handlers had no concerns about keeping agent 0.3498 in the undercover pool.

          PAUL "Sunny" Braybrook, facing cocaine and weapons charges, chose to defend himself against the findings of his old outlaw friend.

          In the legal joust, the outlaw biker proved himself a quick study in law. During his cross-examination at the preliminary inquiry in the spring of 1995, Braybrook caught Patterson in a series of lies. Patterson admitted he had collected welfare illegally and that he had given false information to his parole supervisor.

          But getting anything else out of him would be difficult; Patterson rarely gave a straight answer.

          In his line of questioning, Braybrook portrayed the police agent as a man who never broke from his life of crime. He suggested Patterson continued to move cocaine and that several times during Project Ice he was either drunk or stoned.

          He then questioned the integrity of Patterson's notes by showing chronological errors in them. He also suggested the police influenced Patterson's note-making.

          Patterson insisted his notes were independent though he said they were sometimes made in the presence of police officers, usually in a hotel room following a drug buy.

          The most revealing details emerged when Braybrook began wading through the events leading to the suspicious death of a 16-year-old boy before Project Ice.

          BRAYBROOK grilled: "So you did not commit any other crimes or say that you trafficked in narcotics while you were employed by the police?"

          "No," Patterson replied.

          "What about the death of John Paul Lapham, did you lie to the police about that as well?" "What's your question?" Patterson stalled.

          The judge then stepped in and put the question to him again.

          Patterson's answer launched a series of evasive replies.

          "To the best of my knowledge, no," Patterson said.

          "Did the police ask you about the source of the morphine that was involved in the death of John Paul Lapham? Specifically, did they ask you if you provided that morphine to the boy that died?" Braybrook asked.

          "To be fair, I don't remember their exact questions, it might have been put like that. All I can tell you is, I didn't," Patterson answered.

          "You didn't. You didn't, what?" Braybrook pressed.

          "I did not provide any morphine," Patterson replied.

          That wasn't the question, though. Braybrook had asked him if he knew the source.

          The judge again interrupted, asking him if the police ever inquired about the source of the morphine. "Can you answer that?" the judge asked.

          From Patterson's answer it seemed as though the police may have skipped such routine ground. Either that, or Patterson was being evasive again. "I don't have an independent recollection if the police actually said to me, 'Do you know where it came from?' And in fact I don't," Patterson told the court.

          Braybrook may have been firing shots in the dark but his focus on the boy's death may have gotten him off the hook. On Nov. 3, 1995, Department of Justice officials met with police to review the three remaining Project Ice cases, all main targets.

          They decided to drop the charges, including those against Braybrook. RCMP files state: "[Department of Justice] were of the opinion that the remaining defence lawyers would attempt to surface issues that were exposed at the preliminary hearing and that O.3498's credibility would be in question.

          Documents show the decision to withdraw the charges was supported by the very police officers who spent six months targeting the higher-echelon suspects.

          SIX hours after the boy's death was reported, Barrie Police Sergeant Al Gilchrist had banged out a two-paragraph press release that said as much as the police wanted to say: next to nothing.

          That same night, August 8, 1992 - 14 hours before the autopsy had begun - police said foul play was not suspected. "It's not a violent scene, but it appears to be drug-related," Sgt. Gilchrist told reporters.

          The next day, less than 24 hours into the 'investigation', Sgt. Gilchrist said charges had not yet been laid. "And it doesn't look like there's going to be any.

          The police said John Paul Lapham died from an overdose of morphine. The local newspaper, The Barrie Examiner, published two brief articles quoting only the police.

          End of story.

          Or so they thought.

          JOHN Paul Lapham's struggle between good and evil came early on in life.

          At 16, the boy who was named after an affable Montreal priest was running wild.

          The son of a Long Island trucker, young John Paul was raised in a home steeped in alcoholic rage. His life would remain troubled even after his father left home. He used to think his father hated him, that he didn't want to see him ever again.

          The lanky, fresh-faced boy was introduced to outlaw circles by his older sister Tracy, at the time a babysitter for a senior member of a biker gang.

          Drawn to the underworld for its seemingly "exciting lifestyle," Tracy had become close to outlaws, her mother says.

          "She knew it was a tough life yet encouraged her brother to engage in that lifestyle. She thought it was neat - a reaction to her own pain in her own family," Sheila Lapham recalls.

          Misguided and vulnerable, John Paul found himself mixed up in drugs and booze. Soon he was breaking into homes as part of a small thievery ring with links to Patterson.

          Whether it was the cold reality of jail - a penalty for his latest rash of break-ins - or the yearning for a better life, young John Paul finally vowed to stay out of trouble. In a letter to his family dated Feb. 8, 1992, the boy began by telling his mother not to blame herself.

          "You probably think that you failed and didn't bring me up right - but you did," John Paul wrote. "I will show all of you when I get out that I can be trusted in the community. And that I can follow the rules of the law and the rules of society.

          "I will never steal again, ever again," he promised.

          He would never get the chance to prove himself.

          DAYS after his release, while driving around Barrie with his mother, a sense of fear gripped the boy.

          His mother is haunted by their conversation, regretful that she didn't pick up on what he was saying until she put the "picture together" months later.

          "They could take my little sister," he had mumbled to his mother.

          "They could hurt our family. I can't live here anymore... I can't stay in Barrie.

          His mother pried, but he became guarded.

          "He was scared I would go to the police and that would have just caused more trouble, in his mind," she says.

          The last day she saw him alive was Aug. 7, 1992. She was pained about letting him go out that afternoon. But during a family counselling session weeks before, she had been told to stop worrying about him all the time.

          "I forced myself to let him go even though I sensed an element of danger in the hours to come," she recalls.

          That afternoon, John Paul seemed anxious, not himself. There was to be a "party in his honour" that night at a friend's, a celebration of his release from custody.

          Fifteen minutes after John Paul slammed the screen door on his way out, his mother heard footsteps marching up the drive. Three men dressed in army fatigues approached the door in unison. One of them asked if John Paul had left yet.

          "I was too frightened to ask questions," she recalls. The men then marched away - "I'll never forget the clicking of their boots.

          She didn't tell anyone about the mysterious visit.

          Her son didn't come home that night, but she expected to see him at a horse show the next day. Some time after John Paul left the house he called home. She heard her son speak for the last time by playing back the answering machine: "Hi mom, it's me John Paul.

          The next afternoon, his mother was called to the phone in one of the stables. Family friend Jennifer Waltho told her to go to the hospital, there had been an emergency. She couldn't bring herself to tell her over the phone.

          She phoned her oldest daughter Tracy to find out what was going on. "John Paul is dead," she cried.

          In shock, tears streaming down her face, Sheila Lapham told herself he would pull through no matter what.

          Stunned family friend Gary Giffen remained speechless as he rushed her to the hospital. Once there she demanded to see her son. In her mind the wait seemed forever.

          Brushing past a police officer, she cried: "Is he okay?" He looked to the floor and muttered, "he might make it.

          Another police officer told her John Paul was a very troubled boy. "I didn't come here to talk - I've come to see my son," she fired back at the callous policeman.

          She grew more furious as the minutes passed.

          Inside one of the hospital rooms, a doctor tried to revive the boy.

          "It was horrible, just horrible," she remembers.

          Her intense sorrow would only deepen.

          In the days after her son's death, she said the police would not talk to her. The few details they did disclose she would have to read in the newspaper.

          "They had a very bad attitude.

          She says they refused to show her their files.

          "I sensed from the very beginning that there was a cover-up. I suppose they were protecting their own.

          THE funeral home was packed with friends and family but only one man stood out in Sheila Lapham's mind. One look at Cory Patterson and she knew something was wrong. Patterson sat alone, sobbing, his burly frame trembling, his head buried in his hands.

          "I thought Cory was one of the kids. He always partied with the kids so I just figured he was one of the kids - just another teen-ager," she said.

          "I knew from the beginning [Patterson] was responsible," she said.

          "[John Paul] couldn't get morphine on his own. Somebody had to give him the pills.

          She was terrified of him, yet she asked him to be a pallbearer because she wanted him "brought close to the pain.

          "I wanted to know if he felt anything, if the death touched him," she says.

          Drawing the scorn of mourners, Patterson stumbled a few times while carrying the casket. His presence alone was enough to stir emotions. After all, it was in the basement of Patterson's rented lakeside home outside Barrie where John Paul had spent his last hours of life.

          In the weeks that followed, John Paul's mother pieced together as much as she could about Patterson. It turned out that her son had looked up to Patterson, wanted to be just like him. He had spent a lot of time at Patterson's home. He had cleaned the house and mowed the lawn, anything to be close to him.

          "He was my all-around gopher," Patterson says. "He just liked hanging around me, thought I was the best thing since sliced bread. I'd take him shooting handguns.

          Patterson was grooming him.

          "He was going to be my right-hand.

          "He had a lot of potential.

          John Paul and his teen-age friends usually "paid tribute" to Patterson by showering him with stolen gifts from break and enters.

          "I was shocked that this man had told not only my son but many others that he would employ them, encouraging them to do break and enters," Sheila Lapham says.

          Her personal probe of Patterson told her little else.

          SHEILA Lapham would only learn the real story in January 1995, two-and-a-half years after her son died of a reported drug overdose.

          Over the phone one night, a friend told her she might be interested in attending a local drug trial in the morning. The wife of a suspected drug trafficker told her Patterson was actually an undercover police agent.

          "Are you sure you want to go in there?" a police officer asked her outside the courtroom.

          Inside, she couldn't believe it. There, a few feet away, sat Cory Patterson, only he was wearing a suit and tie and testifying as a RCMP agent.

          She glared at him for hours.

          The man she believed got away with murder turned out to be a paid government agent.

          The trial lasted a week. The accused, Willard Low-On, was one of the 40 suspects rounded up in Project Ice raids.

          Sheila struggled to keep comments to herself during Patterson's testimony. She finally gave way when Low-On's defence lawyer said he wanted to ask the drug agent about a boy's "death.

          "No, sir - that's murder," she announced to the court.

          She was ordered to compose herself and refrain from such outbursts.

          The defence lawyer in this case, B. Cugelman, questioned Patterson's credibility and, like Paul Braybrook would months later, led the court through the events surrounding the death of John Paul Lapham.

          Justice Paul Hermiston couldn't believe what he was hearing. Never in his career had he heard of such a bizarre case. He was at a loss to even speculate why the RCMP would hire such a wicked man.

          To him, Patterson was a ruthless liar.

          During the trial, the accused testified that Patterson had threatened him several times during the past 15 years. He testified that Patterson said "I'll break your legs" when the accused refused to lease him a restaurant.

          Another time, on Nov. 15, 1992 - during Project Ice - the accused testified that Patterson once threatened him because his drug supply had run dry. Patterson, according to the sworn statement, put a handgun to Low-On's face and said, "The next time I come back, you better have some Percs. The accused's 69-year-old wife, Helen, also testified that Patterson once showed up at the house, pointed a gun to her husband's head and said he'd "do the family in" if he didn't sell him "Percs.

          Patterson denied threatening the accused with gun in hand.

          On Jan. 3, 1995, the Ontario court judge found Low-On guilty of drug trafficking. Two days later, he had to rule on a defence motion claiming the accused was unfairly lured into illegal activity. He ruled against the application, recognizing the long upheld belief that police must be allowed to match the ingenuity of outlaws in their fight against crime.

          While Judge Hermiston dismissed the defence motion, he used the hearing to publicly condemn the police agent and his secret dealings with the RCMP.

          Finally, Sheila Lapham thought, someone was on her side.

          His decision, unreported by media, was a scathing indictment of both Patterson and the deal he struck with the Mounties.

          The judge began by describing the police agent as a hoodlum, then waded through Patterson's lengthy criminal record.

          "[Patterson] was known by the RCMP to be a close associate of the Para-Dice Riders Motorcycle Club.

          "He was known in this circle for his proficiency with explosives and firearms, and he was known as an enforcer of decisions of the Para-Dice Riders. I may and do infer that for these reasons, the police negotiated with [Patterson] while he was imprisoned to become an informer," Judge Hermiston said.

          "I watched [Patterson] very carefully while giving his evidence and I have no hesitation in saying that his testimony, where contradicted by evidence of other witnesses, is completely unbelievable.

          The judge then reviewed Patterson's reaction to the death of 16-year-old John Paul Lapham: "When confronted with the situation of a young man dying in his home, [Patterson]'s home, in 1992 as a result of a drug overdose, he demonstrated or showed no kind of human emotion in responding to questions.

          Judge Hermiston then wondered why on earth Patterson had not been charged with welfare fraud after admitting it in open court: "During the time that he was on the payroll of the RCMP as a crown agent, he defrauded Barrie Welfare of an amount unknown while remaining on the welfare roll.

          He has never been charged with this offence, for some reason unknown to me.

          Then came a searing criticism of the Mounties which suggested the RCMP left themselves open to blatant deception from day one: "His record and his admitted background indicates to me that he was and remains to this day, a devious criminal who has been able to manipulate the Royal Canadian Mounted Police into thinking that he has turned over a new leaf in his life, and is and wants to become a law-abiding citizen.

          "In effect, he has hoodwinked the authorities. His testimony is completely unreliable, and where it differs from other witnesses in this application, I do not accept it.

          Once he found no evidence of entrapment, Judge Hermiston threw out the defence's application: "Before leaving the matter, however, I must state that I recommend that the Provincial Crown Attorney further investigate the admitted welfare fraud by Segato [a.k.a.Patterson] and that he be charged.

          In making the recommendation, the judge quoted case law which states if the rule of law is to have any meaning and provide security it must be extended to every individual.

          He then recommended that police re-open the 1992 investigation into John Paul Lapham's death. He also said "if a coroner's inquest was not held, one should be.

          The Lapham family embraced the recommendation from the bench as a sign of hope in their search for truth.

          Their calls for an inquest still ring.

          THE next day, Kingston RCMP Supt. Freeman Sheppard noted the judge's comments for the file.

          "Mr. Justice Henniston [sic] remarked, in referring to the agent, that he could not understand why the RCMP would choose to employ such an unsavoury individual.

          "He was referring to the person's propensity for violence when he made this remark," Supt. Sheppard wrote.

          The RCMP superintendent then paraphrased the judge's recommendations and offered what he knew about each incident.

          "I am unable at this time to confirm if a detailed report of the death was submitted to CROPS [criminal operations] prior to the approval of the project [Project Ice]. Sgt. Crawford told me that there had been discussions about it with the Kingston Sub/Division Section NCO [Non-commissioned officer] as well as with the [Ontario] Drug Enforcement Branch prior to approval being given," he stated in the file.

          He said investigators only learned Patterson was illegally collecting welfare three months into Project Ice.

          "There is no indication that this information was reported through channels," Supt. Sheppard noted.

          Ontario RCMP then asked their counterparts in New Brunswick - where the agent had been transferred with a new identity - to interview Patterson "with the Crown's questions in mind to determine if 0.3498 has any knowledge as to why Judge Henniston [sic] would make such remarks.

          So here the RCMP turned to Patterson himself to find out why a respected Ontario judge would censure him.

          The RCMP ended up getting a story that explained away the judge's hostile criticism as simple vindictiveness. The story Patterson told would find its way into future files. Patterson said Judge Hermiston had a "personal beef" with him.

          RCMP Cpl. Pat McDonell of New Brunswick's "J" Division documented Patterson's story in a March 1, 1995 memo: "Years ago, the judge was a lawyer in the same law firm which represented J.1483 [Patterson] in his divorce. The judge had heard J.1483 discussing his case with his lawyer and interrupted the conversation to tell both J.1483 and the lawyer that he found J.1483's views to be 'repugnant.'" The relationship, the corporal noted, "blossomed" after the judge reported problems with the reclining chair he apparently bought from a furniture shop owned by Patterson's father.

          Judge Hermiston, still a sitting judge, is not at liberty to tell his side of the story.

          THE last hours of John Paul Lapham's life may not have been as simple as police would have you believe.

          The police release said only two others were in the house when the young boy died of a massive morphine overdose: Cory Patterson and his girlfriend Donna Gibbs.

          Patterson reported the death at 3 p.m. on Aug. 8, 1992. I have since learned that the body of John Paul lay slumped in the basement for possibly five hours before Patterson called police.

          The day before, the boy had partied at Patterson's rented lakeside home.

          The next morning, an eye-witness account says the boy was found dead and, hours before police were called, a handful of people were ordered to leave and stay quiet; all drugs were swept out too.

          The police arrived to find the boy dead.

          Hours later, police said foul play was not suspected. The police said there were only two people in the home at the time. No one was ever charged with any crime.

          "He got away with everything," Sheila Lapham insists.

          She blames both Patterson and his employer, the police. "They were trying to protect their man and my perception at the time was that they were frightened.

          "I really felt the police had an obligation to report the danger that surrounded John Paul. Nothing was said. They had to know. There were other youths he could manipulate, target - usually the troubled ones from broken homes.

          "I just think Cory targeted vulnerable children for his own benefit. Patterson should be brought to justice, she says.

          "The man needs to be brought to trial and face charges. He has to do his time.

          Lapham has lost faith in the police and the justice system. Her only comfort, she says, is knowing he will one day be judged by a higher power. "I always remember that there's another day for Cory.

          That her son died in the home of a police agent makes it all the worse, she says.

          Understandably, her trust in police has been shattered.

          "I used to look up to the police. I thought they were better than this.

          They did little and are doing little to protect our children.

          THE break-ins that landed young John Paul in youth jail also earned him the scorn of Patterson.

          "He might have f--- up," Patterson says in taped statements. "He went on a B&E [break, enter and theft] job and they used something of mine that incriminated me... after I told them never to do that. They took a car of mine and used it on three or four different jobs and I had no knowledge of it. When I found out I went ballistic.

          He declines to discuss the details of the fateful weekend.

          Patterson, however, acknowledges that some firmly believe he is responsible for the boy's death.

          "I was originally blamed for it and I'm still blamed for it by a lot of people today. I was told I killed him and that the only reason I helped the police was because I had to get my ass out of a murder.

          Paul Braybrook is one of those who blame him.

          Braybrook thought the world of John Paul. The boy was wild at times but had a "big heart" he recalls.

          Most who knew John Paul agree. "He was a troubled child who in his search for answers got mixed up in the wrong things... in spite of all his troubles he always maintained a cheerful heart," family friend Linda Ouellette told mourners.

          Braybrook is one of the few who was a friend of both the boy and Patterson. He treated John Paul as if he were "part of the family" and he had known Patterson for 13 years.

          That Patterson betrayed his trust was one thing. But that he may have played a part in the death of a 16-year-old boy was scandalous.

          Without a doubt, Braybrook says, he believes Patterson is linked to the suspicious death. Braybrook says Patterson once told him that the "ultimate test" of the boy's loyalty would be to watch him die, popping pill after pill.

          "What really bothers me is that he was given a licence to do whatever he wants - even kill young people," Braybrook charges.

          "He and the government were partners in the murder of John Paul. BY spring of 1994, Patterson was growing restless. Under new identities, he and his girlfriend Donna Gibbs had been living in Halifax for almost a year.

          His cover exposed in Barrie, the RCMP had relocated him and his common-law wife to the Nova Scotia capital.

          Their life in the Maritimes came with a clean start. The Mounties paid off $10,000 he had racked up in credit card debts under his old name. Still, there would be problems.

          The RCMP had not yet assigned him an undercover drug operation, and a new name with no background left him little chance of finding other work.

          Worse, his girlfriend was usually lost in cocaine.

          Their life at home grew more and more stormy.

          On the morning of May 7, 1994, their relationship ended with a shotgun blast.

          Unharmed, they gave different stories to the police.

          In Patterson's account, contained in Halifax RCMP files, his girlfriend, stoned, walked into the living room with gun in hand. She demanded that he help her get drugs, Patterson told police. They then broke into a fight, he said.

          The girlfriend, on the other hand, said the gun accidentally went off while she was unloading it.

          "There are two very distinct stories, both stating their version to be correct," wrote Halifax RCMP Inspector J.W. Pilgrim in a May 10, 1994 memo, marked "urgent," to his Ontario counterparts.

          "The only factor," he continued, "that can be noted is that [his girlfriend] has displayed her flair for going wild on crack.

          Once police weighed both stories, Patterson was jailed and later charged with assault causing bodily harm and dangerous storage of a firearm.

          Patterson went berserk in jail, screaming he'd kill a police officer or guard. The police used pepper spray on him.

          In his memo, Insp. Pilgrim said the municipal force acted appropriately because Patterson was "cracked out.

          He continued, "1108 is very aggressive and the potential for a violent act is very real." He called Patterson a "loose cannon" and noted the agent's girlfriend feared he would go on an "absolute terror streak" upon release.

          "Probably foremost it is unknown what 1108's frame of mind will become."

          The inspector said it was "absolutely" necessary for Patterson to go into a detox program. "Yet 1108, to date, has a mind like a brick wall and has refused to listen.

          RCMP handlers considered Patterson's arrest a security risk. RCMP files detailing the 1994 arrest also reveal grave concerns about certain members of the Halifax police who may have identified Patterson as an informant.

          "It would appear that some conversation took place between the Halifax City Police members [who] transported 1108 to the correctional centre and the guards. This situation only compounds the security breach," Insp. Pilgrim wrote.

          Pilgrim then noted disturbing details about guards and some members of the Halifax Police Department. "There have been and will continue to be active drug files on select personnel employed at the correctional centre.

          "Further, there have been situations over the years which cause great concern as to the associates some of the Halifax City Police members have.

          In short, it is felt there is no way 1108 can remain in this city or province," the inspector warned.

          Two nights after his arrest, Patterson was interviewed at length by the RCMP. He told them he wanted his girlfriend out of his life and wished to continue working as a drug agent.

          His future as a drug agent, however, was in doubt.

          Patterson had long been considered hard to handle and the RCMP now believed he was abusing prescription-only painkillers.

          One memo warned he was on the "quick road to exploding if these drug abuses cannot be brought under control in the immediate future.

          His career as a drug agent would be over unless he broke his bad drug habit - a problem Patterson vehemently denied.

          Halifax RCMP Cpl. Al Comeau thought the only way to find out if he was telling the truth was to place him in a detox program. The corporal pitched it as a show of "good faith" to test how sincere Patterson was about staying on as a drug agent.

          IT seemed the RCMP were finally realizing that their special deal with Patterson was unravelling.

          RCMP Superintendent Al Hutchinson of the force's Ontario drug enforcement squad detailed some of the problems. He said the agent would "not be happy" upon release from custody and would be "hostile towards all police officers.

          The fierce domestic fight, Hutchinson noted, was seen as a sign that the "total relationship has the potential to become violent.

          In a May 8, 1994 memo to the RCMP's federal policing branch, Supt. Hutchinson said Patterson's girlfriend should leave town for security reasons.

          To the superintendent, the fight was only one of many problems. He knew the agent was running out of money and had big debts to pay. His witness-protection living allowance was about to end and he wouldn't be able to make rent. The superintendent suggested his living allowance be extended until the end of the Project Ice trials.

          Hutchinson also believed it was time for Patterson to gain control of his reported drug habit. He charged that the agent had declined all offers of help in the past. "If there is any hope of continuing with court this problem must be resolved," he wrote in the memo.

          If these problems were resolved and the force agreed to keep Patterson as an agent, then Hutchinson believed he should be relocated. He wanted the plan kept secret from Patterson until the Mounties made up their minds.

          On the other hand, Hutchinson said if the agent remained hard to handle he would be fired in a heartbeat.

          WHILE the RCMP considered the domestic dispute and following arrest a breach of security, they would learn how easy it was for someone to pierce the force's shield of secrecy.

          Insurance-crime investigator Steve Zacher had no problem linking Patterson to the RCMP. The former Dartmouth Police member ran a computer check on Patterson after he made an insurance claim on a $15,000 ring.

          "The fact that we change the FPS# [fingerprint sheet] for a protectee [but] leave the criminal record and location of the previous offences the same, will provide a route Steve Zacher can pursue and inevitably he will be able to identify H.1108 by previous name," a RCMP member warned in a memo. Zacher called the RCMP and gave them fair warning about his investigation, telling them he knew Patterson was in the force's witness-protection program.

          One year later, in a May 11, 1995, confidential letter to RCMP headquarters, Insurance Crime Prevention Bureau vice-president Gerald Garand detailed their two-and-a-half-year investigation: "Our investigations have led us to believe that Mr. Patterson would possibly be part of the witness protection program administered by the RCMP. If so, I bring these incidents to your attention in order that you may take the appropriate action if such is necessary.

          "It is also possible that Mr. Patterson... has been involved in other suspicious and/or fraudulent insurance claims involving companies who have not referred these claims to us for investigation," Garand wrote.

          "We solicit your co-operation in order that Mr. Patterson not abuse [his] present position to perpetrate frauds against the insurance industry.

          When the insurance company refused to pay the suspect claim, Patterson threatened to sue them. The RCMP figured such a lawsuit would cost them more in expenses than the $9,500 claim itself.

          Worse, such a lawsuit could jeopardize the integrity of the force's witness-protection program.

          The RCMP decided to pay Patterson $9,500, the full amount of his suspect insurance claim. In exchange, he agreed, in writing, to drop the lawsuit. Patterson never admitted his claims were bogus. But the Mounties, even though they paid the one claim, must have thought it was suspect.

          The RCMP would raise doubt about the legitimacy of the claim in a later memo dated June 1, 1995. "Of note is the fact that J1483 owned a jewelry store prior to becoming an agent and that he could not produce receipts for jewelry. Also, the insurance crime prevention bureau could not confirm the place of purchase.

          By spring 1994, the RCMP realized the drug agent had to be relocated again. Too many things were going wrong.

          The drug agent was drawing attention to himself. His relationship with his girlfriend had ended with a shotgun blast, and later Patterson's arrest.

          He had been making suspect insurance claims and had a reported drug problem - a habit thought so bad the RCMP said they wouldn't deal with him again unless he entered detox.

          In light of all this, it's hard to believe what happened next.

          THE unmarked cruiser pulled into the Fredericton Sheraton Inn's parking lot mid-afternoon on May 13, 1994. When Cpl. Al Comeau checked Patterson in, Cpl. Pat McDonell was already waiting for them.

          Patterson appeared eager to begin a new assignment in the seemingly quiet New Brunswick capital. He wore his pin-striped suit, his hair pulled back in a ponytail.

          But instead of being handed a new assignment on the spot, he was confronted about his drug problem. "I don't need detox. I don't do drugs - period," Patterson insisted.

          Trouble had already started his first day on the job.

          "O.3498 refused to enter the detox program stating that he didn't have a problem, however, his behaviours and mannerisms indicated otherwise," a RCMP memo stated. "In addition to the dependency problem; other health problem [sic] were identified (back and spleen); and it was also determined that his financial situation would require close scrutiny by the prospective handlers.

          A May 11, 1994 memo to RCMP headquarters in Ottawa authorized by Supt. R.A. Scott of London, Ont., said that Patterson could do the job, but warned he can be "difficult to control at times.

          Still, New Brunswick RCMP were determined to put Patterson to work, even if he had refused drug treatment. They made an appointment to have him examined by a doctor and concluded, on May 31, 1994, that he would not be employed as a paid civilian agent until "all problems are resolved.

          Six months later, although Patterson had not undergone drug treatment, RCMP members Sgt. Lawrence Grant and Cpl. McDonell persuaded their superiors to put him back to work, this time infiltrating Fredericton's drug underworld.

          The Mounties couldn't identify any handlers from New Brunswick's "J" division who could commit the time to ensure Patterson put his life back in order or to ensure he returned to Ontario to give testimony at Project Ice trials.

          It was against this backdrop that Sgt. Grant and then witness-protection co-ordinator Cpl. Pat McDonell took on the Patterson case. In their minds, the agent had turned himself around and was ready to work again. They said his health was better and his debts were under control. They had kept him away from the local criminal element, they said.

          This was an order from Ontario RCMP who didn't want the agent exposed until he met all court commitments.

          McDonell and Grant were so certain the agent was ready to go undercover again that they went to their boss with a plan. Under the plan, the drug agent's maintenance payments would be extended. The salary he would earn from the intelligence probe would provide an opportunity to wean him off maintenance funding.

          If the street sweep failed, the agent could move on to a larger centre where he would have a better chance of finding other work.

          Supt. Pierre Lange seemed sold on the plan. In a letter to Ontario RCMP in which he requested the agent's funding be extended, the superintendent said McDonell and Grant had invested a lot of time and effort in the agent.

          They had one more, rather important reason to keep him on the job. Cpl. McDonell and Sgt. Grant envisioned nothing but trouble if they abruptly cut Patterson loose back then, in December 1994.

          Patterson's initial letter of acknowledgement with "J" Division RCMP was signed on Jan. 20, 1995. Under the contract, the civilian agent would be paid a salary, all expenses, plus a $5,000 award at the end of the operation.

          A second contract extending the probe, dated Feb. 24, 1995, stated he would be paid $1,000 every week plus expenses and a $5,000 award. RCMP files detailing his employment from Jan. 20 to March 31, 1995 show he was to be paid $500 per week plus expenses and a $10,000 bonus.

          (Before the operation was to begin, the Mounties insisted his ex-girlfriend leave town. The Halifax episode in mind, they feared she was a security risk. The RCMP finally bought her a $1,110 one-way ticket out of town.) Unofficially, the drug agent said he had already begun "warming up" targets.

          A few weeks later he was, in his own words, "off to the races.

          He lived in the upstairs unit of a modest two-storey home on the main street in Forest Hills, a middle-class neighbourhood in Fredericton's east end.

          His neighbours were terrified of him. His rented house was rigged with security cameras and motion detectors. With a steady stream of dead-of-night cabs and loud parties, the neighbours figured he had to be a drug dealer.

          To many, he stood out from the crowd. He usually wore muscle shirts, sharp suits or army fatigues. He always wore dark sunglasses, walked with his fists clenched and ended sentences with "period." This man with the dark complexion had porcupine-cut hair and his shoulder tattoos featured slogans "Aryan Brothers Forever" and "Death Before Dishonour" above and below the Nazi death squad symbol SS.

          But few knew his true identity.

          The only people who knew he was a Crown agent outside the RCMP were a handful of Fredericton police officers. In a 1994 briefing report, RCMP Sgt. Grant wrote, "met with Supt. [Sheldon] Geldart, Fredericton Police Department, and let him know that J.1483 is residing in Fredericton.

          Address given.

          He then noted that Geldart assured him only two other officers, head of the emergency response team and the chief, would be let in on the secret operation.

          OPERATION Jitters began in earnest the night Patterson walked into a Fredericton bar and barked, "Tequila." Shot after shot - surreptitiously dumping them on the floor - he quickly proved himself a hard partier.

          The slim man behind the bar had invited him down after meeting him a few weeks earlier at a retail clothing store in the Regent Mall. "I'm a bartender at night at The Attic," the salesman said. "Maybe I'll see you around sometime.

          That night, Patterson ordered himself drinks until the bar closed. The two then left for 52 Eatman Ave. in the city's north end. The barkeep said a man named Gord Hoyt lived there and they could score some "crack," according to police briefing files.

          They apparently settled on cocaine powder, reportedly retrieved from another man who lived just outside city limits.

          "I'm in," Patterson thought. "I knew right then that I had all the things to infiltrate the higher-ups - and I was right.

          Patterson's expertise in installing security alarms seemed to impress the targets, making it easy for him to befriend them, he said.

          There would be several chances for Patterson to make drug buys. He said the targets liked him from the beginning, thought he was their "best friend.

          It was now time to make a for-the- record drug buy.

          On the morning of February 2, 1995, Patterson arranged to buy cocaine from one of the operation's targets, police files show.

          At 5 p.m., one hour before the scheduled drug buy, the agent and his RCMP cover team met at the "safe house," a designated room at the Fredericton Inn.

          One of the drug squad members handed him a flash roll of $450 to buy an "eight ball," one-eighth of an ounce of cocaine.

          Instructions contained in a confidential RCMP investigation report show Patterson was to give $50 to Gord Hoyt for "middling the deal." The agent was then ordered to tag along with the man to a residence outside city limits.

          Once there, he was to pay $320 for the cocaine, and, if possible, get introduced to a man named David Weaver.

          "He was not to push this, if the opportunity arose he certainly would take it," stated the investigation report, signed by Cpl. Roy Hillier of "J" Division's drug squad.

          The following account is detailed in police debriefing files: Hoyt, alone, went inside the residence and returned shortly after, saying they had to "hit their stash" for the "eight ball." Together, the agent and Hoyt went to another house, located at the corner of Royal Road and Kingsley Road. Then, also according to debriefing files, Hoyt and Weaver went inside and returned a short time later with the cocaine.

          On the drive back with Hoyt, Patterson learned that getting close to Weaver was going to be easy, real easy. Hoyt reportedly told Patterson that Weaver was interested in meeting him, said he wanted a security system installed at his house.

          Patterson then dropped off Hoyt and returned to the safe house where he turned over the drug exhibit to Const. Gervais. The cover team told the agent to "lay low" over the weekend and then contact Hoyt about meeting Weaver on installing security equipment.

          They told him not to rush the meeting - they wanted Weaver to come to him.

          Weaver has acknowledged he was a target in a cocaine investigation, however, he vehemently denies the above events documented in police debriefing files. He insists they were fabricated. In fact, Weaver was not even charged, let alone convicted.

          IN the days that followed, there seemed to be a growing unease that the police agent might cross the line.

          During a late-morning meeting on Feb. 6, 1995, in a hotel room at the Fredericton Inn, his RCMP handlers told him to keep everything "above board.

          "Again he was instructed that he could certainly play the role of being criminally active, but he was not to take any action that would be seen as a criminal activity by the courts," stated a Feb. 6, 1995 investigation report signed by Cpl. Hillier.

          How in the world could he keep it legal, Patterson thought. Here he was, trying to prove himself to the drug underworld yet under orders not to break the law. Or even, as another report stated, leave the very perception he was committing a crime.

          On the other hand, they told him to hit all the bars and make himself known to the drug community.

          The February 1995 report stated the agent must be "strictly controlled."

          He was described as "very skilled" at infiltrating the drug scene.

          "However," the report continued, "J1483 also has the potential to become a liability and could very easily revert back to his old lifestyle.

          The police themselves feared him. The report warned handlers to watch their backs at all times. "After dealing with J1483 for a period of three weeks, it is my observation that J1483 can be very dangerous and volatile.

          "When dealing with him, we must always be aware of our own personal security. At the present time, J1483 is under control... he may deviate from this course at any given time.

          The report ended by saying that the undercover operation was progressing well because of the agent's natural talent.

          That talent soon put him right inside Weaver's house and later inside his inner circle of friends. During the next four weeks, the agent was meeting everyone. It was under the pretence of installing security equipment that Patterson was offered an inside look at Weaver's world.

          A job that should have taken an hour, he stretched over two weeks, all the while keeping a close eye on who was coming and going.

          He documented these first-hand observations in a police notebook during every-other-day debriefings with his cover team at the Fredericton Inn. Things were going so well for Patterson that he was now showing up at Weaver's unannounced.

          They became so close that Weaver and his buddies actually partied at the agent's rented home on Forest Hill Road. They downed vodka, ate pizza and sometimes donned army helmets and waved flare guns, posing for the camera. His arms over another's shoulder, Patterson looked remarkably like one of the boys.

          "I was paid to party with these people," Patterson recalls. "They seemed to trust me - period. I put on a good show.

          Times and places of drug buys, conversations and suspected drug hangouts are contained in RCMP debriefing files.

          One debriefing report reveals his cover story: a long-time criminal, he was a fugitive originally from Toronto.

          The RCMP files do not detail how small drug shipments are distributed.

          Patterson, however, said in many cases the cocaine, packaged in small freezer bags, is dropped off at the foot of a roadside telephone pole outside city limits. The poles are numbered - making it easy for drug runners to find.

          One night during a party, Patterson said he intended to establish a line of supply for Fredericton's legal community.

          "Would you mind," he says he asked a dealer.

          It was a different market and by ordering more cocaine each week, the dealer could get a better price.

          It was at this time, Patterson charges, the RCMP started backing off.

          He says they didn't want to pay for a pound of cocaine. Patterson couldn't believe it; he had reached the end of the road because there was no way he could get that amount fronted.

          "They burst my bubble," he says.

          But he may have been the author of his own misfortune.

          THE RCMP'S "creation" roared alive early Sunday, April 30, 1995. It was nearing 1 a.m. when a bouncer at The Attic spotted Patterson urinating on the bar.

          "I asked him to leave," Dean Renald Voisine, 26, later told police.

          Patterson refused.

          Voisine raised his voice and again ordered him out.

          The wild-eyed agent unsheathed a boot knife, waved it in the bouncer's face and threatened, "I'll return with 100 brothers and burn the place down with you in it.

          A bar patron calmed him down and Patterson finally agreed to leave; Voisine called the police.

          Minutes later, Fredericton Police Cst. Mark Lord and partner Martin Gaudet arrested the drug agent outside the bar. One of them asked what he had tucked in his belt and when he tried to show them he was ordered to stop, turn around and put his hands on the wall.

          He was arrested for assault with a weapon and read his rights. While searching him, police found a retractable baton, known as an asp, a boot knife, carpet knife and a pepper spray dispenser.

          Police took him to the station, booked him and then showed him a list of local lawyers. At first, he said he didn't want to talk to a lawyer but changed his mind.

          Meanwhile, the doorman seemed unwilling to file a complaint.

          "Dean Voisine was very reluctant to provide a formal statement," Cst. Lord noted in a follow-up report.

          So how did the Fredericton police persuade the frightened doorman to give a formal statement? The answer may be found in a 1995 review signed by then-RCMP Insp. Mike Connolly, now the province's director of policing services. "The bouncer was reluctant to press charges until shown a copy of J1483's criminal record by a member of the FPD [Fredericton Police Department]," Connolly wrote. "The criminal record was also shown to the owner of the bar.

          That night, Patterson threw a temper tantrum in his cell at the police station. He stripped naked, danced around screaming and immersed his head in the toilet bowl.

          He told police that he worked for one of their members, Cpl. Gerald Cook of the joint-forces squad, according to RCMP files. Cook was later contacted but denied knowing the government agent. Patterson maintains he never blew his cover; he was later acquitted on the assault charge when it went to court.

          RCMP handlers told the drug agent to lower his profile until they assessed the file. He agreed.

          New Brunswick Mounties believed the agent's cover had been jeopardized and that Patterson himself was largely to blame. They thought his safety was at risk and wanted to shut down the operation.

          RCMP drug-intelligence analyst Cpl. J.R.N. Seguin agreed the probe should be shut down but saw some things differently. In a three-page agent assessment, the corporal noted that Patterson was making several inroads into the local drug organization.

          The corporal agreed that Fredericton may have been too small for the agent's "operating style.

          "This could have been a problem. However it is a situation that could have been handled if closer supervision had been given the agent," Seguin said.

          The corporal then blamed the RCMP, charging their "poor supervision" was the predominant cause for the agent's behaviour. They had allowed him to work on his own several times, the corporal said. The corporal then noted there was a "lack of [a] trained and experienced handler.

          It appeared the only trained handler in the Fredericton RCMP drug section had "other commitments.

          Seguin also criticized the Fredericton RCMP drug squad for taking so long in submitting an operational plan. That delay "is probably one of the main causes for the situation we now find ourselves in.

          Had the Fredericton drug unit followed its original four-week intelligence plan with a proper cover team, "most of the problems would not have occurred," Seguin wrote.

          "We now face the problem of terminating this Operation after the outlay of several thousands of dollars and what will probably be more expenses relocating J1483 once more with no results.

          THE drug agent seemed so depressed his handlers thought he was going to kill himself.

          He said he had nothing to live for, no job, no family.

          The RCMP had still not served him a termination notice, yet the probe had been halted.

          His expense-account living fading away, Patterson's world was starting to collapse. He talked about preparing a will and told his handlers to forward all of his belongings to an old girlfriend should anything happen to him.

          On June 5, 1995, Cpl. Pat McDonell asked the agent what he would do if RCMP in Ontario ruled against further witness funding. (The charges against the last three remaining Project Ice targets would not be dropped until that November.) Patterson told him he had $656 left and would take his own life once that dried up.

          His behaviour had long worried the RCMP and it was now beginning to worry others. Dr. Peter Fraser, a retired army doctor turned private general practitioner, had been treating Patterson for months. The chief of family medicine for Region 3 Hospital Corporation was becoming more and more uncomfortable during the drug agent's visits.

          The doctor became so concerned about Patterson's behaviour that on June 6, 1995, he requested an interview with Cpl. McDonell. In the interview detailed in RCMP files, Dr. Fraser said the drug agent "scares him" and asked when the Mounties were going to be relocating him.

          When the corporal told him the RCMP planned to stop assisting Patterson, the doctor couldn't understand why.

          Dr. Fraser then said the RCMP should take some responsibility. "After all, he is their creation.

          That same week, the drug agent phoned his RCMP handlers several times. He said the RCMP had ruined his life, left him with nothing but contracts on his head. He again mentioned suicide and told them he had "no intention" of testifying at the remaining Project Ice trials back in Ontario.

          RCMP files show that Patterson said the remaining trials were the most important, then threatened, "if "O" Division [in Ontario] doesn't live up to their commitment, then neither will I.

          With these concerns, the New Brunswick RCMP sent a telex to their Ontario counterparts. But, as Ontario criminal operations Supt. R.A.

          Hannam detailed in a five-page, June 28, 1995 memo in response, the Mounties had already lived up to their end of the deal. Hannam said the force had not promised to pay the agent a living allowance during the Ice trials - a fact that even some Mounties found surprising. A 1994 review by RCMP Sgt. Marty Van Doren said keeping Patterson in the witness-protection program would be "ideal" because the main targets in Project Ice had yet to be tried.

          Hannam also wrote he was concerned about Dr. Fraser's comments. Just because the doctor was frightened by the agent was no reason to relocate him, Supt. Hannam said. He also said the comment about the agent being an "RCMP creation" showed the doctor knew little about the secret dealings between the force and Patterson.

          Hannam told his New Brunswick counterparts the agent came to them, not the other way around.

          He said he found it hard to understand how the agent's years in the "expenses-paid" witness program had now, somehow, created all of his problems.

          It was about time the agent bore some of the blame himself, the superintendent said. "It is our view we have been more than fair to O.3498 and have provided funding for two years," Supt. Hannam wrote.

          He told RCMP in New Brunswick that he supported psychological counselling for the agent but was against job training and relocating him. Hannam also said his division would pay for the agent's medical treatment, but believed costs should be shared. After all, he said, "J" division had hired the agent "after we did - knowing full well the problems that O.3498 had.

          Hannam said the Mounties had honoured all agreements and if Patterson was breaking the law he'd have to resolve the issue himself.

          "O.3498 would not be the first person in the SWP [source-witness protection] program to commit another criminal offence," the senior Mountie wrote.

          The superintendent said source-witness protection cases are never easy and this one was no different.

          He had the support of Cpl. J.A. Smith who agreed the RCMP had lived up to their contracts with Patterson. In a review of the file, Smith referred to a December 1994 telex that clearly informed New Brunswick RCMP that they would be concluding funding.

          "Now "J" Division [of New Brunswick] is sending this telex telling us of all the problems," he wrote.

          ON July 9, 1995, Cpl. McDonell learned of another problem. Patterson paged him at noon that day, later telling him he had wrapped his car around a telephone pole the night before. He said he swerved to miss something on the road and went into the ditch. He left the car there and didn't phone the police about it.

          The corporal told him he'd probably get a ticket for leaving the scene of an accident. McDonell told him he should have known better and stayed at the scene, said it was probably on his driving test.

          Patterson told him he barely remembered anything on the test. "I took it 20 years ago.

          Five hours later, the agent paged McDonell again. He reached him on a cellular phone and told him he'd call back on a secure land line in an hour.

          By then, according to police files, Patterson had changed his story. He said he swerved to miss an oncoming car. The car went into the ditch and he got out and hitched a ride with the driver of the oncoming car.

          On the way home, he said the driver felt guilty. He didn't get his name, but took down the licence plate then lost the slip of paper.

          Months before, in May 1995, Patterson had been in another car accident.

          Days later, he got a doctor's note saying he couldn't testify at the Ontario trials because sitting or standing for long periods would be too painful.

          TO Mike Connolly, the drug agent was losing control.

          The government agent had twice been charged with assault, had been in two car accidents and was suspected of abusing drugs.

          In a blunt review of the agent's file, the inspector said handlers had noticed a drastic change in his attitude. They said he was no longer following orders. "He is acting desperate rather than confident," Connolly wrote.

          The inspector listed examples of the agent's erratic behaviour: assaults, high-speed driving, drawing attention to himself, acting childish and threatening police officers.

          In the file review, Connolly disclosed that the drug agent had been considered "unstable by a well-respected medical practitioner. He said cutting the agent loose would carry heavy consequences and suggested Patterson be counselled by a psychologist to defuse anticipated violence.

          "It is the general consensus of the handlers that here we have a situation which is on the verge of getting out of control and the presentation of a termination notice may just... set him off," the inspector wrote.

          Once fired, the inspector said, the drug agent would have no option other than to revert to a life of crime.

          "He is unable to find employment and now that the local police force has resorted to providing his criminal record to local businessmen it is unlikely O3498 will ever find a job.

          The RCMP inspector continued to sketch a damning portrait of the Fredericton Police, suggesting they "targeted" Patterson because he had a criminal record. "This could lead to an embarrassing situation should O3498 find himself involved in a serious crime," the inspector warned.

          He said the agent could not adapt to Fredericton, a small town of 46,000 with a community so conservative that people once complained that a big Canadian flag outside a grocery store flapped too loud.

          Connolly said the agent should receive psychological treatment and job training then be "re-established in a large metropolitan area in Western Canada.

          In the months that followed, the RCMP would find out how hard it was to shake Patterson and the trouble he caused. They couldn't get him to sign a termination notice.

          One time, his handlers arranged to meet him at 2 p.m. on July 19, 1995, in the parking lot of Keddy's Inn on the same street as the agent's home.

          In an unmarked car, two RCMP handlers told him the force had honoured all their commitments, but the agent still refused to sign. Patterson then told them about his money troubles, and once again, the Mounties said they'd give him $1,000 to help out.

          The Mounties set out to cut the agent adrift, but bailed him out instead.

          The drug agent would need their help again and again, particularly in August 1995.

          AUGUST 11, 1995. 7 a.m. - Stephen McQuade got out of the taxi and stumbled to the door, six-pack in hand.

          The popular 31-year-old, wearing cowboy boots and jeans, had partied all night with friends. Alone, he had left David Weaver's house at 5 a.m. and was now on Patterson's doorstep.

          Inside, a security system jolted Patterson out of bed. He saw McQuade on the closed-circuit monitor and made his way to the door.

          Patterson knew his early morning visitor. He had met McQuade, a harmless and somewhat misguided character, while gathering intelligence on the local drug underworld.

          During the past few months, Patterson was slowly untangling himself from those he had started infiltrating. Some were so taken by his bogus friendship that they remained loyal to him, not knowing his true identity.

          The night before, McQuade had apparently learned that a friend was buying a ring which had been stolen from Patterson. McQuade thought it was wrong according to a statement given to police and, furious, left to tell Patterson.

          Patterson shut off the alarm, threw back the bolts and opened the door.

          "I've got to talk to you... I've got to talk to you," McQuade reportedly said as his taxi pulled away.

          "It's early, what do you want?" Patterson recalls asking as he let McQuade in.

          A sleepy-eyed woman, Carol Estey, poked her head into the kitchen, mumbled "Hi," and went back into the bedroom.

          McQuade told Patterson he knew where his ring was; Patterson said he'd deal with it later.

          Patterson's account of the night ends with him turning McQuade away because he was with a friend and going back to bed.

          "That's the last time I ever saw him," he says.

          "Apparently he's dead. He was a drunken, drug addict bum. That's the truth. A lot of people are afraid of the truth - and anybody who knew him knows he did cocaine and [was] a booze hound. If he was a girl, he'd whore himself out," Patterson says coldly.

          Days later, on Aug. 13, 1995, two RCMP members on door-to-door inquiries paid Patterson a visit in the early evening. They said a "local drug runner" had been reported missing.

          The next afternoon, Patterson phoned Sgt. Lawrence Grant. Grant was busy; Patterson was told to phone back.

          He called back at 3:30 p.m. but Grant was away from the office. He paged him an hour later and Grant, finally, returned his call.

          The next time Grant heard from Patterson was around 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 16, 1995.

          "I've got a situation," Patterson said over the phone.

          THE would-be tenant pressed his face against the window, cupped his hands and scanned the downstairs apartment.

          On the floor in one of the bedrooms, he noticed the figure of a man - had to be a "bum", he thought. So he opened the window; the pungent smell almost knocked him over.

          He ran around the lawn and banged on the door to the upstairs apartment.

          "There's a body in your basement," the man cried.

          "So," Patterson said. "I don't care who's there. If there's a problem, call the police.

          Minutes later, Fredericton Police converged on the same house which two Mounties had called on days before.

          That night, RCMP Sgt. Grant asked Patterson, "Who do you think it is?" "I don't know," he replied.

          Grant told him to co-operate with Fredericton police detectives.

          Three hours later, Patterson contacted Grant and told him city police wanted him to leave the two-unit bungalow because they considered it a crime scene.

          "Do you know the identity of the deceased?" Grant pressed.

          "No," Patterson exclaimed.

          The agent then expressed fears city police would find his undercover notes while searching his residence.

          That week, then-RCMP Insp. Mike Connolly phoned then-Fredericton Police Deputy Chief Ron Cronkhite about the investigation.

          Connolly told Cronkhite that "if for any reason" his investigators wanted to talk to the "upstairs tenant" they could contact his handler, RCMP Sgt. Grant.

          He left Grant's pager number and Cronkhite said he'd pass it on to Insp. Shane Clowater.

          "I advised him that we would provide full co-operation and asked him to use discretion with regard to any info we provide relative to our interest in the upstairs tenant," Connolly advised Sgt. Grant in a handwritten note dated Aug. 17, 1995.

          The body was identified the next day, Aug. 18, 1995, as Stephen McQuade.

          That morning, Fredericton Police detective Larry McGuire called RCMP Sgt. Grant and asked to meet him. McGuire, an ace investigator, said he wanted to talk about Patterson, and about McQuade's death.

          Grant drove to the Fredericton Police station and had to wait until Const. Randy Reilly, a respected officer known for pursuing his instincts, got out of court.

          The detectives already knew Patterson's true identity.

          In fact, it was the talk of the provincial courthouse. That morning maverick lawyer Danny Watters approached Const. Reilly to tell him he knew Patterson was an agent for the RCMP, according to police reports. Watters' wife Ann Wheeler, also a defence lawyer, used to represent Patterson. Reilly had talked to Patterson days earlier about the McQuade case.

          During their conversation, Patterson told Reilly that McQuade arrived drunk at his door early on Aug. 11, 1995. He said he had a case of beer and several syringes.

          Patterson told the detective he didn't let him in.

          Days later he said his landlord Nicholas Dicarlo found a person in the basement. He said Dicarlo told him there was a bum downstairs and asked him to tell two prospective tenants to wait until the place was clear.

          However, the would-be tenants arrived, made the grisly discovery, then told Patterson, who lived upstairs at the time.

          He told them to call police, he recalled.

          Sgt. Grant later noted in a report that Patterson showed no reaction and remained composed. "He did not take a look nor did he offer to call the police.

          Back at the Fredericton police station, Grant gave city detectives background on Patterson and said he would help.

          Around 3:30 that afternoon Grant agreed to bring Patterson to the police station himself for a taped interview. The RCMP sergeant feared city police would draw attention to Patterson if they arrested him using an emergency-response squad.

          Grant picked Patterson up half an hour later and drove him to the police station, a red-brick compound in the city's downtown core. Patterson was escorted to an interview room and city investigators agreed to call Grant when they were done.

          The interview lasted an hour. Patterson told the same story.

    * * *

          WHERE Patterson's account ends, another begins.

          His is an account that may be flawed, arguably questionable when compared to police files.

          Police notes show some inconsistencies in the drug agent's story.

          Patterson and Carol Estey told investigators that McQuade had several syringes in his shirt pocket yet the shirt he wore that night had no pockets.

          A used syringe was found next to his body, yet McQuade was not an intravenous drug abuser nor did his body have any needle marks - his friends and family insist he was terrified of needles. Police records reveal that Patterson kept syringes in his apartment.

          Patterson said he turned McQuade away at the door, but police files show investigators concluded he actually died inside the agent's apartment and was later moved to the vacant basement unit.

          When Grant went back to pick Patterson up, he noticed city police were about to interview Patterson's girlfriend about the mysterious death. (The police later tried to give his girlfriend a polygraph test but she did not show.) The police were slowly piecing together the puzzling events of Aug. 11, 1995.

          "The story goes that when McQuade learned [about a man] buying the ring he got mad. They had an argument. McQuade left angry to tell J1483," Sgt. Grant wrote in a report dated Aug. 18, 1995.

          The morning after Grant filed that report, Fredericton police detective Larry McGuire paged him. McGuire said he and Reilly wanted to meet with him immediately. Grant drove to the Fredericton Police Department at 10:45 that same morning. The three law enforcers shared theories about the sudden death - including Patterson's "possible involvement.

          Reilly told Grant that several local lawyers were interested in Patterson because they had heard rumours that he was in the witness-protection program. They thought the Mounties were protecting him, he said. The RCMP sergeant was told that some local lawyers had nicknamed Patterson "The Unibomber.

          The police then discussed whether Patterson had any "knowledge of cynide [sic]." An Aug. 20, 1995 RCMP report of the meeting noted: "Apparently last winter he had a girl at this house and he showed her a bottle of cyanide.

          Stated he keep [sic] around in case he has to kill himself.

          The city police detectives also told Grant they considered Patterson a "serious problem" and if there was trouble "it will be placed at the RCMP door.

          By this time, the police were still waiting to learn an official cause of death. They knew only that McQuade's body contained a large amount of cocaine.

          The next morning - Sunday Aug. 20, 1995 - detective McGuire paged Grant again, this time to say he'd be away without leave for a couple of days.

          McGuire also told Grant that Patterson had apparently identified himself as an undercover police agent several months ago.

          McGuire gave the RCMP sergeant some other details too. He said the desk clerk at the Best Western hotel in Kingsclear had called police to tell them Patterson and a "young lady" had checked in.

          Patterson's whereabouts exposed, McGuire feared some locals might pay him a visit.

          Just in case there was trouble, Grant drove to the RCMP Fredericton detachment and briefed members around 3:30 p.m.

          His work that Sunday didn't stop there - minutes after he got home the phone was ringing. RCMP Const. Cara Paul of Fredericton Detachment was on the line. One of her friends on the Fredericton police force had been talking about Agent J1483.

          She told Grant that city uniform members knew Patterson was in the witness-protection program and were "not too happy.

          That night around 5:30, Grant phoned Patterson at the Best Western.

          "There's a lot of talk around town. Do you plan to stay there?" Grant asked.

          "Yes!" Patterson said.

          "Is the girl there?" Grant inquired.

          "Yes!" Patterson repeated, adding the girl was going to stay.

          Grant said he'd call him back once he talked to Cpl. McDonell.

          McDonell said Cpl. Ferris McLean, who had earlier investigated reports that McQuade was missing, told him that Patterson had deliberately blown his cover months ago.

          The sergeant called Patterson back at the hotel. Patterson's aggressive behaviour took him by surprise. He called the RCMP sergeant "L.G." several times during the call, leading Grant to think he was trying to identify him to someone else in the room.

          "The truth about you is out," Grant said over the phone.

          Patterson said he was in a bad mood and the sergeant should phone him back in the morning.

          The next day, Reilly told Grant that the city police investigation revealed Patterson had informed "locals" that he was in the "special forces" and carried a cyanide capsule for suicide purposes.

          Days later, on the direction of Insp. Connolly, Grant and McDonell escorted Patterson to a RCMP safe house in Moncton.

          THE drug community was living in fear.

          Word around town was that the unpredictably violent criminal turned police agent was still being protected by the RCMP.

          "There is genuine fear of this subject. Several local drug dealers are in hiding," RCMP Insp. Connolly wrote in an Aug. 23, 1995 report to the force's Ontario drug division.

          The inspector said there was little doubt the agent had, through his own actions, breached his security.

          He then noted the consequences - so grave, in fact, the security breach could have sparked a drug war. "The local police force is concerned that by having this exposed agent in Fredericton that it puts the community at risk, both civilian and police alike," the inspector said.

          He then warned, "It is only a matter of time before this whole matter is public.

          In fact, that New Brunswick's small, normally quiet capital was teetering on the brink of a drug war has gone unreported until now.

          The day before the inspector filed his report, a reliable Fredericton police source informed Const. Randy Reilly that Patterson was "strong arming" local drug dealers. There was an unprecedented sense of fear in Fredericton's drug community that Patterson was mounting a one-man takeover of the local trade.

          He had told several people about his expert skills with weapons, including bombs, and drugs, according to police. It had also been reported that Patterson was packing a 9mm handgun. "According to his [former] lawyer Anne [sic] Wheeler, J1483/O.3498 has shown her the weapon which he carries in his belt," the report said.

          "There is a real possibility several local criminals may approach this agent and if this happens it will lead to violence." Connolly said it was only a "matter of time before there is some sort of violent confrontation.

          The inspector ordered the agent be transferred out of town to a RCMP safe house in Moncton.

          TWO years after his suspicious death, McQuade's family still yearns for answers.

          "The worst is all the unanswered questions," his father David "Tab" McQuade says.

          Police gave them few details beyond the basics, and said they would keep the file open. (A RCMP memo dated Aug. 31, 1995 - only two weeks after his body was found - states the city police investigation had been completed.)

          The police didn't even tell the family Patterson was a RCMP agent.

          Stephen McQuade. Fun-loving, generous and always willing to lend a hand.

          He had many friends and few enemies. "I have real fond memories of him and it's quite a big hole to fill," friend James Cunnane said days after McQuade was found dead.

          He had fallen into the wrong crowd years ago. Still, he remained his likeable self. "He was easily swayed by others. He was the kind of person, though, who always looked out for others when he could," his father recalls.

          His last hours of life were spent with an organized-crime enforcer turned police agent, his body found in an empty basement apartment after it had lain there for days.

          It is not known how McQuade met death, but the events surrounding it are overwhelmingly suspicious. Investigators reported they found four drugs in his body, including cocaine. The syringe found next to him contained a fifth unknown drug, police said.

          The police said their findings were inconsistent with suicide. No one has been charged in connection with his death.

          It may be that McQuade spent his last days in danger because of a heroic act - saving a girl from an obsessed attacker.

          In the weeks following the McQuade death, Fredericton police quietly launched another investigation based on a crime-stoppers tip. The tipster, according to police files, alleged that agent J1483 "forcibly injected a girl with an [unknown] substance for whom he had an obsession. McQuade stopped the agent and "as a result was threatened by the agent with [a] gun," the tipster charged.

          David Weaver, on the other hand, believes his long-time friend died of an accidental overdose. "I truly believe it was an accident but the police were trying to convince me it wasn't," he says. "The Mounties misled the McQuade family to protect the welfare of their operation. They didn't want people to know that he died while partying at a RCMP informant's house.

          (The RCMP agent may have been the subject of another probe at the time. Police files state Patterson was being investigated as a "white supremacist" by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).) BY September 1995, New Brunswick Mounties wanted to wash their hands of Patterson once and for all. Their counterparts in Ontario didn't blame them. "We also want to wash our hands of J1483," wrote Supt. R.A. Scott of London, Ont., in a Sept. 13, 1995 memo.

          The RCMP grew so frustrated they were secretly considering a one-time payment to Patterson if he left town. Under the deal, the agent would agree not to associate with any RCMP member for the rest of his life.

          I could not confirm that the deal was formally offered to Patterson.

          It is known that the agent did not accept such a deal. The deal was being considered even though the RCMP, officially, maintained the agent had been "terminated" two months before.

          The same week they considered paying him off, Patterson "burnt" the RCMP safe house in Moncton by inviting over a girlfriend. When his handlers found out, they told him he needed to be escorted back to Fredericton immediately.

          Sgt. Grant and Cpl. McDonell then told him not to return to his Fredericton apartment.

          He refused their instruction so they told him he "was on his own.

          If the Mounties thought Patterson was desperate when he was on the payroll, they were about to see his despair hit an all-time low.

          The agent's behaviour prompted Sgt. Grant to write a brief memo warning members not to meet with Patterson alone. He said the agent had "come off the rails.

          He also blamed the Ontario RCMP for all the problems. In the months that followed, Patterson seemed to grow increasingly despondent.

          Reports filed by RCMP members detail his disturbing behaviour. One report, dated Sept. 19, 1995, stated the agent may take work as an enforcer for outlaw bikers in Montreal. "He told us that he would see us in Hell and to get the body bags ready.

          In another field report, Patterson is said to have threatened to kill himself, on live television no less.

          By Nov. 1, 1995, he apparently told a Mountie he was still building up the nerve to take his own life. He later said he "wasn't himself.

          He once demanded $10,000 to "go away" or he would "whack himself." He said the amount would be enough to "set himself up" in a trailer in the "wilderness" where he'd make a living writing children's books.

          One memo chronicling the agent's suicide threats charged "it is evident that O3498/J1483 is attempting to blackmail the RCMP into giving him more money.

          The memo, signed by Cpl. McDonell, revealed the RCMP had given Patterson more than $200,000 since he had relocated to New Brunswick. (That included an intelligence probe, plus paying the suspect insurance claim and other "miscellaneous expenses.") One of the more extreme threats he levelled was mass murder. He told Mounties that he had enough cyanide (about two-thirds of a kilogram) to kill 133,000 people. He said he had thought about poisoning Fredericton's water supply.

          Another time he said if anyone bothered him, he'd "put them in a box.

          He also threatened the families of police officers. "He knows where most police people live as he makes it his business to know," a November 1995 report said.

          "I've been to their homes, met their wives and kids," he reportedly told police.

          DURING the next year, Patterson became one of the Fredericton Police Department's worst problems.

          He stopped making death threats, but continued drawing attention to himself. Sometimes it was after he had trouble getting a drug prescription filled.

          One time - April 27, 1996 - a Fredericton dentist phoned the RCMP drug section after turning Patterson down. The dentist told the Mounties that Patterson, in an office full of people, said he worked for the RCMP.

          Other times, his presence alone caused a stir.

          Once, a clerk at an Irving convenience store spotted what he believed to be a handgun wedged in Patterson's belt. He called Fredericton police. The police later searched his residence and seized boot knives, carpet knives, mace and two flare guns, one loaded.

          Police reports also allege he identified himself as a "protected person." When they searched him they found one RCMP badge and case and personal cards identifying him as a special agent, according to police files.

          The Fredericton police later told the Mounties they considered Patterson "as dangerous and a possible threat.

          The police wanted him to leave town, but he had every right to stay and they knew it. To them, Patterson knew his rights too well, especially when it came to dealing with police.

          PERHAPS it was Patterson's keen understanding of his rights or simply greed that prompted him to take the unusual step of filing suit against the Mounties.

          By launching the unlawful dismissal suit, filed in 1996, Patterson was risking his life. That he filed suit meant he was publicly exposing himself to the underworld figures he had infiltrated. He had long threatened to sue the Mounties.

          "If J1483 wants to sue, let him go ahead. We are always afraid of being sued," Sgt. Grant once noted in a report.

          Others in the RCMP were not so bold. In fact, several senior Mounties had feared Patterson would go public. A civil suit would surely attract unwanted press on their troubled dealings with the agent.

          In their statement of defence, filed Oct. 7, 1996, the Mounties denied Patterson was ever an employee. They denied he was in the witness-protection program, denied relocating him and denied giving him a new identity.

          Even whether they knew him was considered a secret - one memo ordered members not to confirm nor deny anything related to Patterson.

          So the Mounties wouldn't say anything and Patterson refused to speak to the press - a mix that allowed for scant publicity.

          It appeared the story would be told only once the case went to court.

          Then, a year later, it seemed the public would never be told the inside story. Lawyers representing the Mounties were considering settling out of court.

          PATTERSON, meanwhile, wanted the world to know the story of how the Mounties created a "monster," then financed his terror.

          He also knew, no matter how the story was told, he would emerge as a villain who "rolled over" out of greed.

          The story is powerful not only because a ruthless criminal gained a sense of being above the law and was afforded an expense-account living but also because a respected police force let it happen - all at the public's expense.

          "I was in my own little world with my own people, doing our own thing. The police were doing their own thing. We were all our own little family. Nobody outside got hurt, no innocent people got hurt, nobody got dead who shouldn't have got dead - nothing like that.

          "They took me out of my element, out of a secure situation that I was in and let me run loose in public and encouraged it. They told me to 'Do what you do best.'" In a June interview, one of several held this summer, the former drug agent demanded the Mounties put his life back together. "I want the RCMP to live up to their promises. When I first joined 'Team Canada' they promised I would have work on three or four projects and give me enough money to maybe set up my own business. I just want the RCMP to live up to their original promises.

          "They have now since totally ruined my life and I think they should have to pay for it.

          The former agent charged the Mounties had risked his life and "innocent civilians around me.

          "It's important for people to know how the RCMP conduct themselves and what type of people the RCMP hire. I'm not the only person the RCMP had.

          It's standard operating procedure, but they try to hush it all up. I think it's about time the public knew," Patterson said. Patterson's years in the underworld afforded him enough inside knowledge to "roll over" in exchange for thousands in federal funds, tax-free.

          He proved an extensive source but soon became hard to handle. Patterson himself admitted he actually worked both sides of the law, making him, in effect, a double agent.

          On separate occasions, two people, one a 16-year-old boy, were found dead under the agent's roof - one in his basement, the other in the downstairs apartment.

          The Mounties maintain the agent was terminated one month before the last suspicious death, yet their own files show he never signed the notice, and reveal they continued to give him some money and protection until a month after the death.

          The Mounties are under orders not to speak publicly about their secret, and at times explosive, relationship with Patterson. It is a relationship that was set to be explored in fine detail at a civil trial in court - finally making it open to public scrutiny.

          Under this penetration, the public could have drawn their own conclusions on whether the Mounties gather intelligence at too high a price.

          The access afforded by a civil trial would have offered the public a rare and detailed inspection of how, in this case, Mounties do business.

          Two weeks ago, the Mounties settled out of court - keeping everything secret and paying Patterson an undisclosed amount of money.

          The details of the settlement are secret.

          NO POLICE FILES, notes, reports or memos detailing this case were ever entered into the court file of public record. The civil suit did not even reach examination for discovery, a closed hearing that allows both parties to examine each other's case under oath.

          Patterson's lawyer, Randy Bishop of Atkinson and Atkinson, confirmed the Mounties settled out of court. It is not known how much the Mounties paid Patterson to drop the lawsuit. A copy of a proposed settlement by the plaintiff asked for a little more than $100,000 in damages. That proposal was rejected.

          RCMP members have been ordered to neither confirm nor deny any dealings with the former drug agent.

          According to police records, Patterson is now dead. They say he shot himself in the head with a flare gun. A British Columbia medical examiner also reports that he somehow overdosed on drugs before he shot himself.

          Before his "suicide" Patterson wrote me a letter, thanking me for telling the truth. He concluded the one-page note by saying I should keep it on file for "It might be worth something one day."

          He had hoped someone would make a movie about his life.

          He had hoped to be treated like a regular guy. And, as if writing the script of the final scene himself, he typed "Today is a good day to die."

    Past Issues
    div. of PLR International
    P.O. Box 23
    Cleveland, OH 44072-0023
    216 374-0000

    Copyright © 1998 - 2002 PLR International