A Penticton woman who was using the casino as a hub to launder money and sell cocaine, methamphetamine and a mixture of heroin and fentanyl while she was on bail for other trafficking charges will spend 24.5 months in jail.
“The aggravating factors are she commits the second offence while on bail and it involved fentanyl and the trafficking of three different types of hard drugs. So she is a virtual drugstore, disseminating drugs to individuals who are no doubt struggling with addiction,” said Crown counsel Clark Burnett.
In Penticton supreme court on Monday, Jennifer Leanne Montgomery, 32, pleaded guilty to three charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking. Her jail time runs consecutive to separate charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking and two counts of possession of a controlled substance.
Justice Gary Weatherill said the factors that went into sentencing include that the knowledge about the deadly effects of fentanyl were well known in 2016, with 11 overdose deaths in Penticton alone that year.
In March, Montgomery was found guilty of the other possession charges which were the result of a search warrant executed on June 22, 2016. Police found heroin and methamphetamine in a safe found in the master bedroom of her home along with drug trafficking paraphernalia (including a digital scale and scoresheets).
It was about six weeks after being released on bail that Montgomery was again arrested on trafficking charges. On Sept. 8, 2016 security staff at the casino, which at the time was located at the Penticton Lakeside Resort, took notice of behaviour that was consistent with money laundering and drug dealing. This included meetings near the washrooms and people walking up and putting money into the slot machine she was playing then be given a cigarette package by Montgomery. RCMP were notified and began watching her movements on casino security video cameras.
Crown counsel said Montgomery was seen multiple times meeting people in the parkade upper levels, then be driven to the ground level and then let out. All of which they believed to be drug deals. RCMP then saw a male approach Montgomery as she sat at a slot machine and the pair proceeded to the patio area to smoke a cigarette.
RCMP watched the male immediately exit the casino and get into a vehicle which they promptly pulled over. The male’s mother was driving and believed she was taking him to a job interview. She told RCMP that her son was on the methadone program, however, RCMP found a a small baggie of heroin in the vehicle.
A street value of $1,661 of drugs was found on Montgomery when she was arrested later that evening — 3.58 grams of meth, 7.02 g of cocaine, 5.55 g of heroin/fentanyl and $842 in cash.
Montgomery was given a 28 month sentence for the possession of heroin/fentanyl to run concurrent with two 12 month sentences on the other possession charges. On the trial conviction, Montgomery was sentenced to six months and two seven day sentences to be served concurrently. The two incidents added up to 34 months, however she also received credit for time served while awaiting trial, leaving her with 735 days (24. 5 months).
Defence lawyer Michael Patterson told the court during the sentencing that Montgomery, who has three children and is pregnant with her fourth, had a difficult upbringing by an alcoholic and drug addicted mother, and that she has been addicted to drugs herself for over 15 years.