Prosecution: Calgary fentanyl seizure – multi kilo drug operation – not guilty
PROSECUTION: Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking
RESULT: NOT GUILTY
LAWYER: Sean Fagan
Regina v. X.X. – July 2019
Charge: Section 5(2) of the CDSA
X.X. was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking in a multitude of very serious drugs including heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, MDMA and GHB. The Alberta Courts at the time still had not set a starting point for sentences for fentanyl, but for the quantity that X.X. faced, the potential sentence could easily have aggregated into the double digits. This is because the staggering number of fentanyl related deaths, and the immense profits that can be had from trafficking fentanyl. The Courts have held that significant deterrence is required.
X.X. was found in the basement of a Calgary residence when the Calgary Police Service tactical team made their forced entry. In the residence were significant amounts of heroin, cocaine, fentanyl and MDMA. The weeks leading up to the execution of the warrant were standard for investigations of this nature. X.X. was subject to Calgary Police Service surveillance, for weeks where he was observed coming and going from multiple residences, carrying items to and from residences, and associating with people who were identified as involved in fentanyl trafficking.
The surveillance team also made observations ‘consistent with drug trafficking’. Police officers characterize these observations in multitude of ways:
Often the police will testify that the target of the investigation will drive in behaviour consistent with counter surveillance. This can mean driving around the block multiple times prior to going to a destination, driving with no apparent destination, or running red lights. Police officers will use these observations to support their application to obtain a search warrant to enter a house, vehicle, or other location.
Meetings of short duration
Contained in most warrant applications is police observations that a person was involved in ‘meetings of short duration consistent with drug trafficking’. Often police officers will testify that they saw a vehicle pull up to a public location, for example a grocery store, the vehicle will stop, and an individual will get in the passenger seat of the vehicle. Then the vehicle will drive for a very short period of time, most of the time less than 5 minutes, and then the passenger will depart from the vehicle. Police officers will testify that in their experience, that type of behaviour is consistent with a drug transaction taking place.
This case involved a multitude of observations of this nature, and it ultimately allowed the police to obtain a multitude of warrants to search various vehicles and residences. Significant amounts of drugs were found in multiple locations, and X.X. along with others were charged with possession of the drugs found at multiple locations.
Both co-accused pleaded guilty to certain offences. X.X. retained the services of experienced drug lawyer Sean Fagan to defend this most serious prosecution. The matter was scheduled for trial, and Sean Fagan was successful at securing verdicts of not guilty on every charge.