An elderly Prince George man has been sentenced to six months house arrest for selling prescription drugs out of his home.
Joseph Augustin Andre Lemelin, 82, was issued the term Wednesday at the courthouse after pleading guilty in December to two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
The outcome stems from a Nov. 16, 2011 police takedown at Lemelin's home on Douglas Street near 10th Avenue where more than 1,000 pills making up 29 prescriptions in varying dosages were found in a variety of places.
Ten of the prescriptions were for pills considered to be controlled substances.
The drugs were sold to whomever came to the door, often for just 50-cents per pill, the court was told, although Oxycontin pills would go for $5 each. Further specifics on the types of pills sold were not provided during the court hearing but Crown prosecutor Bruce Kaun said most generated a "euphoric, if not otherworldly sense" for the users.
Defence lawyer George Leven said Lemelin suffers from a "number of medical issues," including a painful version of rheumatoid arthritis and a heart condition for which a pacemaker was installed four or five years ago.
"He was literally on a cocktail of medications," Leven said. "The doctors would prescribe him medications, he would take them for awhile, he would report back to the doctors and advise them that they are not helping and that he required something else.
"So he, at some point, had a stockpile of prescriptions that belonged to him that were essentially laying around and that's how this enterprise started."
Lemelin lives on a monthly pension of $1,350 of which $400 goes to rent, the court was told. Little money was made and the profit made went to day-to-day living expenses.
"This was not a sophisticated scheme by any means," Leven said.
Lemelin, who grew up in Quebec before moving to B.C. in 1974, relied on a interpreter to translate the proceedings into his native tongue of French. A curfew and a prohibition on alcohol were imposed as part of the sentence but is not expected to have much effect on Lemelin given that he is essentially house bound to begin with and does not drink.
Charge's against Lemelin's brother, Alphonse Eudore Lemelin, 76, were stayed.
The older Lemelin, who has no previous criminal record, took sole responsibility although his brother also lives in the home and was involved in the scheme, the court was told.