It’s a fentanyl first.
A provincial court judge has handed down a 14-year sentence to a man accused of trafficking huge volumes of the deadly pills.
Walter James McCormick was facing several charges, including trafficking 3,000 fentanyl pills, and possession of 28,000 fentanyl pills and other drugs in Vancouver and Richmond dating back to February 2015.
“It’s a significant sentence for a person who was trafficking fentanyl at a very high level,” says Crown Counsel Oren Bick.
He explains the judge recognized the crime’s contribution to the fentanyl epidemic, and called McCormick predatory.
“The manner in which Mr. McCormick and other fentanyl dealers have been using fentanyl for their own profit motives, in terms of making more money from the drugs that they sell, by cutting it with fentanyl. And that is coming at the expense of their customers’ lives.”
Bick says the case sets precedent.
“We were seeking an overall sentence of 18 years in jail, the sentence the judge imposed was 14 years. [It’s] certainly one that we hope deters other people from engaging in this type of activity. But, of course, it is limited because every case turns on its own facts.”
Public Safety Minister Mike Morris cheered the sentence saying he wants to see these criminals go to prison for a long time.
“These individuals have been operating for so long, taking advantage of the most vulnerable people.”
Walter McCormick’s defence lawyers say 14 years is a little steep considering he pleaded guilty.
Last year the B.C. Coroners reported 914 illicit drug overdose deaths.
With files from John Hua