By Keith Fraser, The Province
A Surrey man who was caught with 10 kilograms of cocaine in his vehicle has been sentenced to three years in prison.
In September a B.C. Supreme Court judge found Robert Charles Arthur guilty of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
Court heard that in May 2009, police surveillance spotted Arthur leaving a Burnaby residence carrying a box that with the words “Live tropical fish” on the side.
After his vehicle was stopped by police, the box in the back of the Jeep was searched and the drugs were discovered.
“Expert evidence stated that 10 kilograms is an exceptional amount of cocaine,” Justice Miriam Maisonville said in her reasons for judgment. “It would sell, according to the expert, for an amount between $30,000 and $50,000 per kilogram.”
The drug is “dangerous to the community” and has “wreaked havoc” in the lives of many individuals, the judge added.
Maisonville said there was no evidence of a specific drug trafficking organization or that Arthur was a trusted lieutenant of such an organization.
“However, I found that Mr. Arthur was assigned to pick up the cocaine, had knowledge of the cocaine, and had spent some time in the residence. I found that he was in possession of two BlackBerry devices, and I accepted the expert’s evidence on the importance of these devices to drug traffickers.”
Arthur, who committed the crime when he was 29 years old, is from an “affluent” family, his father a respected businessman and Arthur himself a beneficiary of significant gifts from the family trust, says the judge’s ruling.
The accused did well in school and won a golf scholarship to a university in the United States. He lost the scholarship after suffering a back injury and upon his return home became involved with the individuals whose activities led to his arrest, said the judge.
Although the judge said there was no evidence before her of a specific drug organization, in 2012 the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU) said Arthur was one of six men facing charges in connection with an international drug ring trading Canadian-made ecstasy for cocaine.
The CFSEU said that it had seized 117,000 pills of ecstasy and 228 kilograms of cocaine during a four-year investigation.