We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Judges need to get tougher on those who peddle fentanyl.
Recently in Vancouver provincial court, a man pleaded guilty to possessing heroin and fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking. A police officer stopped him after the rental car he was driving crossed a solid yellow line. He was sitting on a folded knife and the officer seized 41 baggies. Ten contained powder cocaine, two heroin and fentanyl, and 29 rock cocaine.
The judge found that while the man’s “criminal conduct was serious and his degree of moral responsibility was high,” he since turned his life around for the better, is a “changed person,” and so handed him a suspended sentence with three years’ probation.
The Crown had argued a jail sentence of 18 months was fit and appropriate.
While each case needs to be judged on its own circumstances, when it comes to peddling deadly fentanyl, we argue, there should be no room for such breaks from judges.
It doesn’t take much fentanyl to kill a person, and drug users are dying from overdoses nationwide. According to the BC Coroners Service, here in Surrey alone 117 people died of fentanyl-related drug overdoses in 2017. In 2016 the number of deaths was 74, in 2015 there were 11 deaths and eight in 2014.
In 2013, four people died from fentanyl overdosing in Surrey and three died in 2012.
So the message judges should be sending is, do the crime, do the time – real time, not suspended sentences. According to the court, this guy to whom the judge gave a break had been selling drugs for a year prior to being arrested.