Two B.C. men were sentenced Oct. 30 after pleading guilty to their parts in a drug trafficking operation where cocaine, MDMA, fentanyl, ketamine and marijuana were seized.
Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Paul Dohm sentenced Oakley Lain Charest, 35, to a total of five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to trafficking in a controlled substance, possessing a non-firearm knowing it was unauthorized and having a loaded or unloaded prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition.
“The Crown submits this is profit-motivated,” federal Crown prosecutor Ashley Hathorn said as she made a joint submission for sentence with defence lawyer Stanley Tessmer.
Dohm told Charest, a father of three, to behave while in prison.
“Keep your nose clean,” he said. “The drug business just doesn’t work so don’t do it in the future."
Earlier in the day, Dohm sentenced Matthew Shaw to a conditional sentence of two years less a day after he pleaded guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Charest was charged with having a Ruger 45 calibre P90 gun with readily accessible ammunition. In connection to a July 5, 2021 incident in Vernon, he also allegedly possessed a Walther P38 handgun and five firearms magazines without a licence. He was also charged with allegedly possessing the guns while prohibited from doing so.
The charges came in December after Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) of BC executed 12 search warrants at locations throughout Metro Vancouver and the Okanagan.
Police seized about $650,000 in Canadian currency and about two kilograms of cocaine, one kilogram of MDMA, one kilogram of fentanyl, 200 grams of ketamine, 10 kilograms marijuana and 16 kilograms of drug-cutting agent.
Also seized were three rifles, a shotgun, three prohibited magazines, ammunition, body armour, two vehicles and a cocaine press. Inside one residence, police seized a Hells Angels motorcycle club vest and various items of Hells Angels support clothing.
The offences were alleged to have taken place in Vancouver, Maple Ridge and Vernon.
In other court appearances in the case, Jonathan Lutar pleaded guilty to drug trafficking Sept. 25, and alleged full-patch Hells Angels member Courtney Lafreniere pleaded guilty to possession of the proceeds of crime, CFSEU said in a Sept. 29 news release.
“This was a complex, multi-jurisdictional investigation affecting several communities,” CFSEU spokesperson Sgt. Brenda Winpenny said. “Illegal drugs, including fentanyl, is an extremely dangerous drug that is proving to have widespread consequences in our province. This investigation is a testament to the dedication and tenacity of our investigators to hold those, who deal in drugs and are involved in criminal activity, to account and brought to justice.”
CFSEU worked on the case with the Vancouver Police Department, various RCMP support units, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP and the Lower Mainland District Emergency Response Team.
Other accused in the case remain in the justice process.