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Two men in Prince George sentenced for drug trafficking

A sentencing has concluded for two men found guilty of trafficking-related charges stemming from a police raid on a Prince George apartment in July 2019. Marshall Luther Cade received 38 months in jail, while John Jacob Ceal received 27 months.

Sentencing has concluded for two men found guilty of trafficking-related charges stemming from a police raid on a Prince George apartment in July 2019.

Marshall Luther Cade, born 1994, and John Jacob Ceal, born 1990, were given jail sentences on March 22 in Prince George Supreme Court, with Cade receiving 38 months and Ceal receiving 27 months. 

Orders were also sought against the pair, including a mandatory prohibited and restricted firearms ban for life, as well as a 10-year prohibition for non-prohibited and non-restricted firearms, a DNA order, and an order forfeiting all cash and items, with the exception of Cade’s cell phone. 

The two men had been running a dial-a-dope operation with Shawn Brian Omark Whaling, born 1992, with 23 visits and 19 transactions in Prince George, using vehicles driven by Ceal and Whaling.

Justice David Crerar noted Cade expressed no remorse for his actions, a contrast to Ceal, who admitted his both involvement in the drug trade and key points in the charges brought against him. 

"In contrast to Mr. Ceal, Mr. Cade continues to wholly deny that he ever committed a crime. He shows no remorse and no insight; he can thus show no steps towards rehabilitation; or reassure the Court that he poses no further threat to offend," wrote Crerar. "He blames everyone but himself for his crime and his present circumstances. His assurances of vocational intentions, and his job history since arrest, are vague."

Both committed their offences purely for commercial gain, explained Crerar, and have shown no tangible steps in rehabilitation. 

"Neither are addicts; neither suffers from a diagnosed mental illness. The drugs found in and outside the apartment were voluminous and valuable; the apartment evidenced an active and organized operation for the packaging and distribution of drugs. They did not traffick to feed or finance their own addictions, but were rather motivated by pure commercial gain," notes the ruling. 

"Neither are employed, and apart from not being charged with other crimes since their arrest, neither can display any tangible steps to turn their lives around and reassure the Court that they will not reoffend, based on a proven path of employment and responsible citizenship," Crerar added. 

Cade was found guilty of three charges: unlawfully possessing 186 grams of cocaine, 135 grams of methamphetamine, and 11 grams of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking. The drugs were packaged in bulk and individual consumption baggies with distinctive patterns denoting volume, with a street value of between $16,300 and $23,600.

Ceal was found guilty of one charge: unlawfully possessing 286 grams of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. The drugs had a street value of between $18,000 and $25,000.

The drugs were discovered when RCMP raided a three-bedroom apartment, with police seizing a cellphone and cash. Cade leapt from a window in an escape attempt, injuring his ankle; $3,940 was found lying in the grass around him. Ceal was then found in one of the bedrooms and also arrested. $1,182 in cash was seized from Cade's person and another $2,245 in cash was found throughout the apartment.  

A search warrant was also executed on Whaling's 200-block North Ospika Boulevard home, and police seized 61 grams of cocaine, $33,200 in cash and drug trafficking paraphernalia.

Whaling later pled guilty to possessing the cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, and received a non-custodial sentence from the Indigenous Criminal Sentencing Court

"We have no details of Mr Whaling’s circumstances, or what was presented in the Indigenous Sentencing Court, beyond his guilty plea. We do not know what steps he has taken towards rehabilitation, his expressions of remorse, the effects of colonialism and assimilation on his path to criminal activity, his personal difficulties, or his family supports. Absent detailed evidence in this regard, the passing reference to his sentence is of limited utility to the present exercise," Crerar writes. 

In a Gladue report provided to court, it's noted Ceal admitted the apartment served as a 'trap house' for packaging, distributing, and selling drugs. Multiple scales, measuring cups, and other drug measuring and packaging materials were found in the residence, along with baggies of various sizes, with markings corresponding with drug volumes. 

"I am satisfied that the totality of the evidence before the Court establishes that these offenders, along with Mr Whaling, were not mere street-level vendors, but together carried out an organized and concerted drug packaging and distribution operation. The execution of the search warrant interrupted an active packaging session in Mr. Ceal’s apartment," noted Crerar. 

The Gladue report also notes Ceal has Métis ancestry, but Crerar said it had little connection to the crimes committed, with Ceal's father and Indigenous grandmother becoming estranged - something that occurs within many families, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, rather than an impact of colonialism. 

"As best as one can discern from the report, other members of Mr. Ceal’s family have led socially responsible lives," noted Crerar. "Specifically, there is little if any connection between Mr. Ceal’s disconnection from his Métis culture and his involvement with the drug trade." 

It's also noted that Cade identifies as Black, and is the son of a white mother and a Black father. An Impact of Race and Culture Assessment (IRCA) was provided to the court, with Cade also claiming he may have Indigenous heritage, and that he experienced racism which pushed him to make unhealthy choices and connections. 

"People who identified as white thought his complexion was excessively dark, while people of African descent thought it was too light, which led to feelings of loneliness and isolation," notes the assessment,  referenced by Crerar. 

The assessment mentions that after the divorce of his parents, Cade become estranged from his father, with a supplemental assessment letter indicating the estrangement was due to his father’s mental illness. 

"That said, as with Mr. Ceal, there is little evidence linking culture or race in his upbringing with his presence before the Court, either as a Black Canadian, or in respect of his professed Indigenous heritage. The difficult childhood experienced by Mr. Cade as described in the IRCA flows more from poverty and the absence of his father than from direct or systemic racism," Crerar wrote.