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Drug trafficking nets 7-year sentence

May 10 2012

A Duncan man who pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine in 2006 and 2008 has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

On Nov. 28, 2011, Jason Thomas Conrad pleaded guilty to mailing 280 grams of cocaine to a friend in New Brunswick. The Xpresspost shipment, sent on Aug. 29, 2006, was intercepted by police.

Conrad also pleaded guilty to delivering three packages of cocaine - two packages of powder weighing a total of 431 grams and a package of crack cocaine weighing 54 grams - to the same friend on Oct. 26, 2006.

Finally, Conrad pleaded guilty to placing an order for five kilograms of cocaine at a price of $215,000 on Sept. 28, 2008. The shipment was seized by police as it was being driven off a ferry. Conrad was arrested that day.

The Crown's case was based on Conrad's intercepted communications in 2006 and from August to October 2008 when police were investigating a group of large-scale cocaine traffickers on Vancouver Island. Federal prosecutor Peter Eccles had asked the court for a 10-year sentence. Conrad's defence lawyer, Rory Morahan, asked for a six-year sentence.

On Wednesday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Doug Halfyard said he would treat the first two offences as one offence and imposed a three-year sentence. For the third, more serious offence in 2008, Halfyard decided a consecutive sentence of five years would be justified.

However, Halfyard decided a prison term of eight years would be too long and imposed a global sentence of seven years. He also ordered Conrad to submit to a DNA order and imposed a lifetime weapons' prohibition on Conrad.

Halfyard found the aggravating factors to be the large quantities of the drug; the fact that Conrad was motivated by profit, not addiction; that Conrad continued to engage in trafficking even though he knew police were recommending charges against him; and Conrad's criminal record, which included two previous drug convictions.

Halfyard found Conrad's guilty plea, expression of remorse, his disadvantaged upbringing and the support of his family and friends to be mitigating factors. The four-year delay in charging Conrad for the 2006 offences also caused uncertainty, the judge noted.

Halfyard found the defence proved that Conrad has made significant, positive change and is intent on rehabilitating himself.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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