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Two men found guilty in Prince George drug trafficking raid

Verdicts against Marshall Luther Cade and John Jacob Ceal stem from Prince George RCMP investigation into dial-a-dope operation

Two men were found guilty Wednesday of trafficking-related charges stemming from a police raid on a Prince George home in which one of the suspects jumped from a third-storey window in a failed attempted to escape arrest.

Marshall Luther Cade, born 1994, was found guilty of possessing cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking and John Jacob Ceal, born 1990, was found guilty of possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking following a lengthy trial in B.C. Supreme Court.

Both were arrested after the RCMP's street crew unit executed a search warrant on a home in a 3800-block 15th Avenue apartment building late at night on July 5, 2019.

In the days before, Cade, Ceal and one other person, Shawn Brian Omark Whaling, born 1992, were seen running a dial-a-dope operation, made apparent by 23 short visits to the building in less than 48 hours and 19 hand-to-hand transactions around Prince George from vehicles driven by Ceal and Whaling, according to a summary in the decision from B.C. Supreme Court Justice David Cerar.

After knocking on the unit's door for about a minute with no answer but hearing a commotion inside, RCMP burst into the three-bedroom apartment. Cade was seen jumping out one of the windows, a flutter of cash floating down and landing beside him as he laid on his stomach with an injured ankle. Ceal was found in one of the bedrooms and also arrested.

Around Cade, police found a cellphone, $3,940, mostly in $20 bills, and three large baggies containing more than 184.46 grams of cocaine, 11.4 grams of heroin-fentanyl and 135.8 grams of methampetamine, enough to be deemed intended for trafficking. And from Cade himself, police seized $1,182 cash and cocaine prepackaged in 17 small sealable bags.

Throughout the apartment, police uncovered more cocaine and cash adding up 280 grams to $2,245 plus scales, measuring cups and more baggies associated with packaging for the purpose of trafficking.

Defence counsel had suggested the drugs found around Cade were actually thrown out the window by someone else. But in reaching his verdicts, Cerar went to some length to dismiss the scenario in part noting only one other person beside the two were in the apartment and she had locked herself in the bathroom. Ceal's bedroom window, in turn, was covered by a screen leaving Cade the only possible culprit.

Cade's "dramatic and desperate escape also speaks to a guilty mind," Cerar added.

Police also executed a search warrant on Whaling's 200-block North Ospika Boulevard home where police seized 61 grams of cocaine, $33,200 in cash and drug trafficking paraphernalia. Whaling has since pleaded guilty to possessing the cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

Whether the matter will proceed to sentencing remains uncertain. Counsel for the two are to make submissions on whether the time it took to reach the decision was an unreasonable delay under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The three first appeared in court on the counts on Sept. 23, 2020.