Kelowna trial date set for man charged with smuggling drugs over Osoyoos border

Armando Esparza-Ochoa didn’t appear either in court or by video-link today

A citizen of Mexico who is accused of attempting to smuggle drugs across the Canada-United States border near Osoyoos has elected for trial by a judge alone instead of facing a jury.

Armando Esparza-Ochoa was scheduled to appear in B.C. Supreme Court, Wednesday, but instead his lawyer appeared on his behalf.

Justice Wilson told the defense counsel that normally the accused needs to be present in court for a re -election to occur. However, it was later agreed upon with the Crown Counsel that Esparza-Ochoa would have the forms signed and confirmed in writing for his next court hearing on Oct. 15.

Esparza-Ochoa was apprehended by authorities in Septrmber 2018 and now faces three charges of importing/exporting a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking, and failing to report in person at a customs office.

READ MORE: Man accused of smuggling drugs across Osoyoos border still waiting for arraignment

Esparza-Ochoa will be held in custody until his sentencing as he’s considered a flight risk. He’s currently being held in custody near Vancouver.

The trial is scheduled from Nov. 4 to 8 at the Kelowna Law Courts.


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