Surrey drug dealer was not entrapped, judge rules

William James Bolender sold drugs to an undercover officer in 2012.

An admitted Surrey drug trafficker will be sentenced later this year after failing to convince a judge he was entrapped by police.

William James Bolender pleaded guilty to trafficking in and possessing cocaine and heroin in September 2012, but subsequently sought to have the charges stayed, arguing he was entrapped by police investigators.

In July 2012, Surrey RCMP’s drug section was tipped to a phone number alleged to be dial-a-dope distribution line. That September, an undercover investigator phoned the number and a man answered. The officer, posing as a customer, said he was looking for a “40.” The man asked the officer his name and where he was. The officer told him he was at a bus stop near 152 Street and 72 Avenue.

The man told the officer to sit tight and hung up. Twenty minutes later, the suspect called back, asking where the officer was, that he went by and didn’t see him. The officer clarified his location and moments later, a grey Honda Civic drove up. The incognito officer leaned in the window of the car, which Bolender was driving.

Bolender asked the undercover officer what he wanted and Bolender put what appeared to be two rocks of cocaine in plastic wrap. The officer turned over $40 and took the two rocks – which were later determined to be cocaine – from Bolender’s hand.

The officer walked away, giving a preplanned signal to his undercover team, which arrested Bolender. Police found 2.84 grams of crack cocaine, .32 grams of heroin and a small baggy of methamphetamine in the car.

In arguing for a stay of proceedings, Bolender’s lawyer said police failed to develop sufficient information to suspect that Bolender was already engaged in criminal activity before he sold drugs to the officer that day.

Judge Michael Hicks didn’t buy the argument, however, saying reasonable suspicion existed based on the contents of the tip.

“By the point the parties were face to face, the investigation had certainly generated grounds for reasonable suspicion which justified the opportunity the officer then presented to Mr. Bolender,”said Hicks in his Aug. 29 judgment.

Bolender’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 17 in Surrey Provincial Court.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

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