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Colwood man in drug bust found guilty

May 27 2012

A Colwood man charged in connection with Greater Victoria's biggest cocaine seizure has been found guilty of possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine and heroin.

On Friday, Victoria provincial court Judge Sue Wishart also found Jarrod Nicol, 36, guilty of possessing an unloaded restricted firearm with readily accessible ammunition. Nicol is to appear in court on Monday when a date for sentencing will be set.

Nicol was arrested along with seven others - four women and three men - in September 2009 after a three-month police investigation.

Nearly 100 officers raided five homes in Saanich and the West Shore, seizing 2.2 kilograms of cocaine, four high-powered handguns, two cars and $420,600 in cash.

At the time, Victoria police said the cocaine had a street value of $2.25 million.

Seven officers testified at Nicol's trial. They told the court that at 6: 20 a.m. on Sept. 29, police executed search warrants at 3346 Roberlack Rd. and on a green Ford Expedition parked in the driveway. Nicol was arrested in the kitchen.

The officers found three shopping bags full of cash in the master bedroom. The first bag contained $55,340 cash, the second $50,070 and the third $49,180. Nicol's driver's licence was in the bag with $55,340 cash.

Police also seized a money counter and a black handbag with $990 cash and a wallet with Nicol's identification.

The Expedition was taken to the Victoria police station. The officer who searched the vehicle noted a strong odour of cocaine. When he lifted off the loose centre console, he found two bags of cocaine and two bags of heroin. The bags of heroin weighed 32.5 grams and 28.1 grams. The bags of cocaine weighed 20.9 grams and 32.7 grams. The officer also found a restricted handgun and a loaded magazine.

During the trial, Victoria police Const. Brent Keleher testified that, based on the amount of cocaine and heroin, how they were packaged and where they were found, they were intended for trafficking as opposed to personal use.

Wishart agreed. Defence lawyer Joe Doyle argued that the Crown's case was circumstantial. Surveillance reports showed other people were seen driving the vehicle, said Doyle.

Wishart reviewed the surveillance reports in detail and concluded that Nicol was the only one seen driving the Expedition.

"I am satisfied that the only reasonable conclusion from all of the evidence is that Mr. Nicol knew the items were located in the console of the Expedition and he exercised control over the narcotics, the handgun and ammunition," said Wishart.

Nicholas Lucier, of Nanaimo, who is wanted in connection with the seizure, was arrested three weeks ago in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.

Others have been convicted and sentenced in connection with the cocaine seizure. In September 2010, James McLauchlin was sentenced to 5 1 /2 years in prison for drugs and weapons offences.

In January 2011, Justin Glen Robson was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine.

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