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Alleged Red Scorpions gang member sentenced in Kelowna
A 31-year-old man police have connected to the Red Scorpions gang will serve seven more months in jail for dealing drugs out of The Lagoons waterfront development.
Steven Michael Herman was arrested in one of two apartments at 1088 Sunset Drive identified by Kelowna RCMP as home base for a drug dealing operation in March of 2010.
"One of the consequences of a serious criminal record is that the sentences become more severe…At some point, the court just says 'he's a criminal' and that's it," said Judge Geoffrey Barrow as he opened sentencing remarks Monday morning.
Fortunately for Herman, this week did not appear to be that point.
After over three years in the queue, and two separate stints behind bars due to the fact he could not make bail, Herman pleaded guilty to one count of possession for the purposes of trafficking cocaine and one count of possession for the purposes of trafficking methamphetamine and all other charges were stayed.
Police initially began an investigation after receiving a report of nefarious activity in the six-storey waterfront building just north of the Delta Grand Hotel. They set up multiple stakeouts to watch the comings and goings at the building, then moved in and arrested Herman and then 23-year-old Dianna Lynn Gazeley, who was living in the unit where the pair were nabbed.
When RCMP raided the two-story loft, Herman was found on the floor of the second storey and there was $25,000, 60 grams of methamphetamine (worth a street value of $6000), 13 grams of cocaine (worth $1040), and a loaded handgun in the apartment.
The gun was concealed beneath some undisclosed personal items between the cushions of a couch in the same room as Herman; but police were never able to definitively establish whether he knew of its existence.
He was charged with three counts of possession for the purposes of trafficking and one count of possessing a firearm contrary to a court order not to have such a weapon.
Now the father of a two-year-old boy, the court heard Herman is a changed man from the day police made the arrest.
His lawyer told the court his client experienced a terrible upbringing as he was removed from his parents as a toddler, likely due to abuse, and tossed from group home to group home. He subsequently cut his education short at elementary school and moved toward a criminal lifestyle, developing a record that begins in 1996 when he was still a juvenile and moves to a string of adult convictions, including one for assault with a weapon.
Having just become a father, he is now hoping to do his time, move his family to Alberta and then earn a living in the oil and gas industry in order to avoid the same fate for his son.
The judge wasn't so sure of his change of heart.
Of particular concern was an arrested in January of 2012 for possessing a controlled substance, which the judge pointed out was after his son was born.
"By peddling methamphetamine Mr. Herman is contributing to the difficult upbringing of all of these people buying the drug," he said, noting the courts have established methamphetamine to be particularly destructive, often leaving those who use it with both brain damage and psychological damage.
He sentenced Herman to two years for each count he plead guilty to, to be served concurrently, a lifetime firearms ban and a requirement that he provide the court with a DNA sample.
With time-and-a-half credit for the months he has already spent behind bars, he will be out before Christmas.