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Prince George man found guilty of possessing meth for purpose of trafficking

Verdict for Neil Joseph Hamel stems from pullover for driving while prohibited
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A Prince George man with a history of committing the offence was found guilty Tuesday of possessing methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking.

On July 25, 2018, Neil Joseph Hamel's luck ran out when an RCMP officer conducting a separate investigation at the Caledonia Mobile Home Park saw him attend the home the officer was watching. A subsequent search of the police information system revealed Hamel was subject to a driving prohibition and was behind the wheel of a vehicle owned by someone else.

As Hamel left the park, the officer notified a colleague who later spotted the vehicle turn south from North Nechako Road onto Foothills Boulevard. The officer briefly lost sight of the vehicle but then found it parked on the side of North Nechako and with Hamel walking away.

A search of Hamel uncovered 12 "dime bags" of methamphetamine and a further search of the vehicle uncovered more of the drug, some of it sitting in plain sight and the rest tucked behind a panel. In all, 72.47 grams of the drug worth $1,600 to $7,200 was uncovered.

In reaching his decision, Provincial Court Judge Martin Nadon found RCMP's searches of Hamel and the vehicle were legal. 

Noting judges are entitled to consider the evidence as a whole and to use common sense, Nadon concluded Hamel was in care and control of the methamphetamine found in the vehicle, noting it was in similar shape and size to the rocks that were found on him.

Hamel's cellphone kept ringing during the arrest and text messages indicative of drug trafficking were found on the device.

Nadon dismissed as "not reasonable" defence counsel's suggestion that the drugs found in the vehicle were not Hamel's. He said the panel was "removable by design" and held in by clips. 

It's not the first time Hamel has been found guilty of a drug-related offence.

In November 2016, he was sentenced to 14 months in jail for possessing 6.17 grams of methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking, along with a consecutive term of one year for fleeing police. Less credit for time served, he had 10 months to go.

Hamel was also found guilty of possessing 7.4 grams of cocaine from the latest episode. He will be sentenced at a later date.