A Surrey man sentenced to 15 years in prison for drug and gun crimes, related to a methamphetamine smuggling operation here and in New Zealand, has lost an appeal of his conviction for conspiracy to produce a controlled substance.
Quang Dong Nguyen’s lawyer argued before the Court of Appeal for B.C. that the trial judge failed to weigh evidence against common law principles that relate to the elements of the offence of conspiracy.
But appeal court Justice Bruce Butler upheld the verdict, finding that “the only reasonable inference from the totality of the evidence was the appellant’s guilt on the charge of conspiring to produce methamphetamine.”
Justices Peter Willcock and Mary Saunders concurred.
The trial was heard in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster in 2017, before Justice Bruce Greyell.
Greyell found Nguyen, 45, conspired with Linh Hoang and persons unknown in Surrey, elsewhere in B.C. and in New Zealand to produce and export meth, and that he illegally possessed a 9-mm calibre Intratec model AB-10 handgun and a cartridge magazine loaded with 30 rounds of ammo.
The Crown had argued for an 18-year sentence. Considering that to be excessive, the defence argued for 10
The trial heard that on Dec. 11, 2012, a brown cardboard box containing a dozen automotive shock absorbers was delivered to a FedEx facility in Vancouver, destined to be delivered to Aukland, New Zealand. Two Canadian Border Services Agency officers found the shocks had been hollowed out and filled with 94 per cent pure methamphetamine – worth up to $52,000 a kilo – wrapped in plastic, welded shut and repainted.
The shock absorbers, containing 2.861 kilograms of methamphetamine, were turned over to the RCMP, who then contacted police in New Zealand.
Three days later, the CBSA seized a second package containing 3.88 kilograms of metamphetamine also destined for New Zealand.
Hoang was convicted in New Zealand of conspiring to import, manufacture and supply methamphetamine.
New Zealand authorities conducted wiretap surveillance and shared them with the RCMP, who then executed a search warrant on Nguyen’s residence in Newton.