Using a hidden camera, an undercover officer documented the moments after Greg Fertuck told a man posing as a crime boss who killed his ex-wife, Sheree Fertuck.

A Saskatoon court viewed a series of videos Thursday, beginning with the crime boss telling undercover operators that he extended an offer to “clean up” a “situation” the now 68-year-old had.

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The conversation took place inside a suite at the James Hotel in downtown Saskatoon on June 21, 2019. It occurred near the end of what police call a “major criminal technique,” better known as the Mr. Big sting.

Police designed the operation to make it appear that police attention was intensifying in Fertuck three and a half years after the disappearance of his estranged wife.

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“Time is of the essence,” the boss told his employees.

Greg Fertuck is accused of killing his ex-wife Sheree, who was last seen leaving her family’s farmhouse in December 2015.

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The video shows Fertuck and men he thought were his co-workers walking down a hallway towards an elevator.

“We are here to help you,” one of the members assured Fertuck.

Outside the hotel, Fertuck and the undercover police chatted a bit about a jazz festival, laughed, and made rude comments about women. The video shows Fertuck in a white collared shirt and a baseball cap.

At one point, the defendant appeared to look directly at the hidden camera, but said nothing.

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They waited for an undercover officer who was identified as a “cleanup” expert.

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“We are all family. No one can do it alone. We need each other, ”Fertuck’s supervisor told him.

Later that day, Fertuck led officers to the gravel pit where he said he shot and killed Sheree on December 7, 2015. The pit is located east of Kenaston, which is about 85 kilometers south of Saskatoon.

Conversations captured on video are virtually inaudible due in part to the sound of feet walking on gravel.

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After a few minutes, they return to a vehicle and head to a wooded area. The court has previously heard that Fertuck and officers spent days searching for Sheree’s body to no avail.

Her remains and the rifle that her estranged husband allegedly used to shoot her have never been found.

The trial has not seen video of Fertuck’s admission to undercover police, but is expected to do so at a later date. The crime boss is also scheduled to testify.

Fertuck has pleaded not guilty to murder in the first degree and of offering an indignity to a body.

A display image from the court shows the gravel pit where Sheree Fertuck would use a front loader to fill the trailer attached to her truck.

Court display

‘I don’t know anything, I don’t see anything’

The trial also heard audio recordings Thursday, including one taken on October 16, 2018, the 19th of approximately 130 orchestrated interactions between Fertuck and undercover police.

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It is also the date that Fertuck’s supervisor told him about “both sides of the house” – a legal vehicle transport operation and a more lucrative illegal business moving contraband.

When Fertuck signed up to work on the crime side, he repeated a catchphrase from a 1960s sitcom at least eight times.

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The words were spoken by Sgt. Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes and articulated how Fertuck, now 68, felt about having a role in a vast illegal operation.

“I don’t know anything, I don’t see anything,” Fertuck said during a 20-minute drive with his supervisor.

Sitting in the prisoner’s box in the Saskatoon Queen’s court, Fertuck visibly laughed at the comment when the court heard an audio recording of the exchange.

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‘I’m a bad boy’

Also known as the “shock operator” in an undercover project, the supervisor was responsible for establishing a good relationship and bringing the suspect into the organization.

Crown prosecutor and witness Cory Bliss described it as one of the “key moments” in the sting operation, in search of the truth about Sheree’s disappearance.

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During his testimony on Thursday, the supervisor said that it was apparent that Fertuck had been drinking prior to the conversation, but that he was not concerned about his level of intoxication.

The court heard that the supervisor told Fertuck that the organization had nothing to do with drugs, but that the criminal side of the business made more money than the legitimate side. The legitimate company provided receipts and excuses for employees to travel.

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It gave Fertuck a choice between the two sides.

“I’m a bad boy,” Fertuck said, indicating that he wanted criminal work.

The supervisor assured Fertuck that they were friends and that he would never put his friend in a position that he himself would not do. He also told Fertuck that he could choose to do legitimate work at any time.

“I wouldn’t give you away because I’m not a rat,” Fertuck told the supervisor.

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The undercover operator testified that he tried to close the topic of being a rat because he did not want the thought to stay in Fertuck’s mind.

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The court heard testimony on other milestones:

  • a meal where an undercover officer posing as an addict was assured he’d have a job after a stint in rehab because he was honest
  • another member was fired for dishonesty
  • In December 2018, Fertuck and others picked up a member of the organization from a federal prison and saw the former inmate being welcomed back into the fold.
  • evaluate a head injury

The supervisor also testified about a key incident during the operation. On New Year’s Day 2019, Fertuck slipped on the ice, hit his head, and had to go to the hospital. He checked in off the premises, only to return after collapsing on the floor of his home.

He spent about a month receiving treatment at St. Paul’s Hospital and City Hospital in Saskatoon.

On the stand, the supervisor told the court at the time, the operation was in “maintenance mode,” with the operators supporting Fertuck, in part, to “maintain the credibility of the organization.”

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Another surreptitious recording played in court Thursday documented undercover police visiting Fertuck at his home in the Holiday Park neighborhood of Saskatoon.

The audio is mostly inaudible, interrupted by the sound of a whisper, along with a dog barking and whining.

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Officers can be heard talking about the prospects of Fertuck returning to work.

“Take your time. When you’re ready, let us know,” the supervisor is heard saying.

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During his testimony, the supervisor said that Fertuck told him that he had stopped drinking when they visited him at his home.

“Greg looked better than ever,” he testified.

All of the Crown evidence has been presented at an admissibility or voir dire hearing. Judge Richard Danyliuk will determine what evidence can be applied to the trial itself.

The trial is scheduled to last eight weeks.

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Reference-globalnews.ca

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