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Man sentenced to further jail time for dial-a-dope deal

David Nelson Gallagher sentenced to 18 months in jail less credit of 461 days, leaving 79 days left to serve

A man who sold $500 worth of heroin-fentanyl and methamphetamine to undercover RCMP officers was sentenced Friday to a further 79 days in jail.

In all, David Nelson Gallagher, 52, was sentenced to 18 months less credit of 461 days for time served prior to sentencing, to be followed by two years probation with an emphasis on rehabilitation.

Crown prosecution had been seeking 22 months while defence counsel argued for time served plus probation.

Gallagher was arrested  Oct. 6, 2018 as part of an RCMP investigation into a so-called dial-a-dope operation when he sold .99 grams of heroin-fentanyl and 3.46 grams of methamphetamine to the officers. Acting on a tip, RCMP had their sights set to on two other suspects but it was Gallagher who ended up being apprehended.

In reaching his decision, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ron Tindale accepted that Gallagher was remorseful and found that he committed the offence because he needed money to get back to his hometown of Mackenzie.

Gallagher had also "made good use of his time" while at Prince George Regional Correctional Centre and had graduated into the jail's right-living unit. He had also pleaded guilty to two counts of trafficking, thus preventing the need for a trial.

Gallagher had overcome a troubled upbringing, drug misuse for much of his life, and convictions for serious but now largely dated criminal offences to hold down steady employment until he suffered an injury while working at the Canfor's Mackenzie sawmill. That combined with the injuries suffered in a serious car accident many years ago caused Gallagher to turn to medication to deal with the pain and once he could no longer afford the cost of the drugs that had been prescribed to him, Gallagher turned to illicit drugs, the court heard.

"There is no question that society is harmed every day by the sale of illicit drugs and that fentanyl is a scourge on society," Tindale said. "However, in this case the offender was involved in a single transaction in a dial-a-dope operation for a relatively small quantity of heroin-fentanyl."

Given a chance to speak prior to sentencing, Gallagher said that what he did that night was wrong.

"I was offered a deal to get back home to Mackenzie and I took that offer without realizing how bad it was, so I apologize to the courts for that. I was wrong and it won't be happening again," Gallagher said.