Legal example for drug dealers

Lawyers are this week making final submissions for the sentencing of two Okanagan drug dealers caught by a precedent-setting conviction against organized crime.

Lawyers are this week making final submissions for the sentencing of two Okanagan drug dealers caught by a precedent-setting conviction against organized crime.

Thomas Fraser and Jason Herrick were found guilty earlier this year of trafficking as well as committing crimes for the profits of their gang.

Justice Geoff Barrow’s decision was a first for  B.C. courts, in that it tied the profits of drug trafficking to organized crime.

As such, Crown counsel is aiming for a stiff sentence of both men.

A 16-year sentence is being put forward for Fraser, 11 of which for trafficking and another five for connection to a criminal organization.

Herrick’s proposed 11-year sentence would be made up of  eight years for trafficking and another three for the connection to a criminal organization.

“These are higher level cocaine dealers than you’d normally see,” said Crown Counsel John Walker, upon listing some of the details of the case.

Fraser and Herrick, he explained, were moving a lot of cocaine until they were busted in 2007 after a lengthy undercover operation.

“They were trafficking in in Kelowna, Penticton and Oliver,” said Walker, noting they were going through about one to two kilos a week, and bringing in a gross monthly profit of $50,000.

“Fraser was the leader and got others to traffic for him.”

And, he explained, Fraser wasn’t a benevolent employer.

Threatening “to smash heads in” the ring-leader was able to ensure that his employees didn’t mouth off, and the competition was kept at bay.

Fraser wasn’t new to the drug trade either, explained Walker. Before the 2007 arrest, where cops confiscated six kilograms of cocaine, 450 ecstasy tablets, $72,000 cash and two vehicles, he had been convicted of dealing in Penticton. That conviction came with a five year sentence, and it was while he was on bail that the new crimes occurred.

“He was not deterred by the Penticton charges,” said Walker.

“Rather than be deterred, he moved to Kelowna, changed his methods…and there was an escalation of trafficking.”

Herrick, on the other hand, was Fraser’s primary employee.

He kept ledgers, was seen moving drugs around storage units, and breaking it down from bulk quantities to smaller doses, for distribution.

While he doesn’t have a criminal record, Walker said that he turned down the opportunity to live a law abiding life by choosing crime.

While facts of the case paint Fraser a hardened criminal, his defence lawyer Doug Jevning says his client has reformed since his arrest and is looking for a truncated term of imprisonment.

“My friends’s suggestions are overly aggressive,” he said.

Fraser has been in jail since the time of his arrest, and has made an impression on numerous people within the system, said Jevning.

“Fraser has not wasted his time,” he said.

Reading from one of a number of letters submitted on Fraser’s behalf, Jevning told the court he’s not only bettered himself, but also the lives of others he was incarcerated with.

“He started a creative  writing program, and an inmate pre-release program,” he said.

The pre-release program is said to have helped 100 inmates get their bearings upon being released, and was devised by Fraser after realizing that B.C. jails were dealing with a revolving door problem that could easily be remedied.

“Fraser made a list of things inmates would need to integrate successfully,” said Jevning.

Apparently many of his peers were without identification, an address upon release, access to social services and any tools to help them stay out of prison.

The work he’s doing within the system these days, is a far cry from the man who entered prison,” well entrenched in the drug culture” he said, and that among other details should be reflected in his sentence.

Jevning will continue his submissions Friday, and Herricks’ lawyer will make his as well.

Judge Barrow said he’ll be ready to make his decision next week.

kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

Just Posted

Smoke sparks evacuation at Penticton apartments

Fire crews were called to 88 Duncan Ave just after 6:30 p.m., Tuesday

Accident backs up Glenmore

Commuters in Lake Country, between Vernon and Kelowna, advised to avoid area

Police incident ends peacefully in Glenmore

After the area was evacuated, police were able to calm a distraught 50-year-old man

UBCO students to get medical cannabis coverage

Kelowna - The pilot project will be implemented in April

Kelowna art camp held for spring break

Classes for children are available from March 19 to 29

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Smoke sparks evacuation at Penticton apartments

Fire crews were called to 88 Duncan Ave just after 6:30 p.m., Tuesday

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

BC BUDGET: NDP hope to nix court delays with $15 million cash influx

Union says funding could stop sheriffs from leaving for higher paid jobs

Thompson, Chilcotin Steelhead Trout in danger of extinction

‘Once it’s gone, it’s not coming back’ says longtime Steelhead advocate Steve Rice.

Cattlemen urge B.C. to prevent erosion caused during 2017 wildfire season

Other concerns are fencing restoration and repair, and a lack of feed for cattle.

Skier air lifted from Cherryville

Elementary school students get a close look at emergency services in action

Most Read