A man who was arrested in Colwood in February for trafficking in heroin and fentanyl has been sentenced to three years imprisonment.
B.C. Provincial Court Justice Harbans K. Dhillon presided over the sentencing of 31-year-old Ryan Fletcher in Vancouver Wednesday.
During the hearing, the judge made note of the current fentanyl public health crisis, according to documents obtained though the Canadian Legal Information Institute.
“The objective moral gravity of Mr. Fletcher’s offending is serious and calls for a denunciatory and deterrent sentence of imprisonment,” the document reads.
According to the document, Fletcher was stopped by police in Colwood Feb. 1 for driving a vehicle with a suspicious license plate. An investigation revealed he was driving while prohibited and was in possession of a stolen vehicle.
Upon searching the vehicle, police found drugs, drug paraphernalia, drug packaging materials, a cell phone and $940 cash in a backpack on the floor of the vehicle.
The document says the items found indicated Fletcher was a drug user and seller.
Among the items found were heroin and fentanyl for resale, and fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamines for personal use.
The defence had outlined Fletcher’s personal circumstances that led to his drug trafficking and addiction. According to the document, Fletcher was born without fingers on his left hand which “made him a target in his youth” and did not have a father figure in his life.
He became addicted to drugs in his teenage years and did not complete high school.
Fletcher has been convicted twice before — in 2010 and 2014 — for possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking and was released into the community in the spring of 2016.
The document shows the judge made note of the rising rates of fentanyl overdose deaths in B.C.
“In my view, selling fentanyl-laced drugs is inviting an addict to play a lethal game of chance, akin to Russian roulette,” the judge said in the document. “An addict typically would not know the concentration of fentanyl in a dose, yet the addiction would drive him or her to pull the metaphorical trigger and use illicit drugs at risk of containing lethal amounts of fentanyl.”
The judge also noted that Fletcher is committed to rehabilitation and moving forward with recovery.
“Mr. Fletcher’s sentence must hold him accountable for his unlawful conduct but must also leave open the possibility for him, now age 31, to move forward with his life after completion of his sentence,” Dhillon said in the document.
For trafficking of heroin and fentanyl, Fletcher received four years imprisonment with a one-year credit for time served bringing his total sentence down to three years. For simple possession of cocaine and methamphetamine, Fletcher received a 30-day sentence.
A lifetime ban on the possession of any firearm, crossbow, restricted weapon and ammunition is also imposed on Fletcher.