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'Mid-level' fentanyl dealer from Cambridge gets four-year sentence

Cambridge woman faced possible life in prison for contributing to opioid epidemic
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An Ontario Superior Court judge has sentenced a "mid-level" drug dealer from Cambridge to four years in prison after a jury found her guilty last July on charges of possession and trafficking a "sizable" amount of methamphetamine and fentanyl.

On Nov. 10, Justice M. J. Valente sentenced the 24-year-old woman, imposed a 10-year ban on her possessing weapons and ordered her to provide a DNA sample.

Waterloo regional police arrested her with her boyfriend in October 2021 after Waterloo regional police staked out an apartment on Concession Street in Cambridge, from which the pair was followed to a number of locatons in Caledon, Hamilton, Brantford and Woodstock.

At the time police surveillance began, the boyfriend was already well known to WRPS.

He had convictions for a variety of offences including robbery, and assault with a weapon, and he had been charged with possession of a Schedule I substance for the purpose of trafficking. 

Police were authorized to track two cell phone numbers assigned to the accused, from which they were able to confirm their movements.

Between September and early October of 2021, police monitored the couple's movements to a number of locations.

They were tracked alone and together heading to and from a property in Caledon, where police ended up arresting them.

The woman was seen leaving the property with a Tommy Hilfiger backpack, which police later seized from the couple's vehicle.

In it they found three Ziplock bags of methamphetamine, a Ziplock containing yellow and pink fentanyl along with eight bindles of fentanyl and a tied plastic bag containing green and purple fentanyl.

The eight bindles of fentanyl were of varying weights, between .03 grams and .19 grams.

Two digital scales, one with residue on it, and Canadian currency were also found in the backpack. Blueish green fentanyl was uncovered in a men's camo-style hoodie found in the rear hatch of the vehicle.

A search of the couple's bedroom in Caledon found currency, unused dime bags and two cell phones.

In the end, police seized 84.01 grams of methamphetamine and 32.4 grams of fentanyl.

In his sentencing ruling, Justice Valente took into account the severity of the crime, the dangers of fentanyl and the impact the opioid crisis has had on communities across Canada.

He cited previous rulings that described fentanyl as a "scourge" and a summary made by another judge that cited federal statistics showing about 23,000 Canadians died from opioid related overdoses between January 2016 and March 2021, 71 per cent of which involved fentanyl.

The maximum penalty for the offences is life imprisonment.

The defence proposed a conditional sentence of two years less a day followed by probation.

The Crown, however, sought six years, stressing the dangers of the drugs she was found guilty of possessing and trafficking.

Valente sided with the Crown in his ruling, citing the objectives of sentencing long recognized in criminal law; to protect and maintain a just and safe society through the denunciation of unlawful conduct, to provide a deterrence by removing offenders from society, and providing criminals with an opportunity for rehabilitation.

He said the crimes the woman was convicted of don't align with conditional sentencing, including the fact she was never an addict, but was a mid-level dealer working for profit and not driven into the role because of limited economic means.

"She was given all of the advantages of a loving and nurturing environment and although [she] may appreciate and value these benefits today, her trafficking of methamphetamine and fentanyl cannot, in my view, be sanctioned with a conditional sentence order," Velente wrote. 

"Her misjudgment in selling illicit drugs, and fentanyl in particular, has other consequences."