Police agent had criminal record, killer tattoo

'That's them bragging they've killed someone?'

An RCMP member testified Thursday there was no mistaking a federal prisoner on the run who was reported to be armed and hiding out in Cranbrook.

That prisoner, who walked away from a halfway house in Vancouver and was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, was John Garry Shank.

Months later Shank would become a police agent and is expected to be the key witness against three men in a murder conspiracy trial underway in Kamloops.

Cpl. Lee Gregor said during testimony that Shank's tattoos included a spider beside his left eye and an elaborate design on his neck. The markings were obvious in a mugshot distributed to police.

During cross-examination, defence lawyer Don Campbell asked Gregor if she knew of any significance of a teardrop tattoo below Shank's left eye.

"That's them bragging they've killed someone?" Campbell asked.

Gregor agreed, saying: "It can be taken that way."

Shank is expected to testify he conspired as a police agent with Lonnie Adams, Lorne Carry and Colin Correia to murder a Cranbrook drug rival.

A Crown prosecutor said in her opening address Wednesday that Shank started talks with RCMP that led to him signing on to become a police agent after he was returned to jail. He agreed to wear a recording device and take direction from RCMP on his release from jail.

Gregor testified that information given to police before the arrest included that Shank had a criminal record for arson and forcible confinement and was armed with a handgun.

When he was arrested Nov. 19, 2009, at a trailer home in Cranbrook, Gregor said an SKS semi-automatic rifle with a banana magazine was found within arm's reach of Shank.

Police found the gun on the floor, under a blanket, after they walked into the trailer. Eight Mounties were on the scene to arrest Shank.

The trial is scheduled to take three months.

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