A Toyota Camry was being driven through a residential neighbourhood at night without the headlights on. A police officer followed in a marked police vehicle and initiated a traffic stop. The Toyota parked in the street and D got out. D walked away and initially refused to comply with the officer’s command to return to the Toyota. The officer approached the Toyota and smelled a strong odour of marihuana. D denied having any marihuana and produced an expired medical marihuana card. He was arrested for possession of marihuana. The officer found a bundle of cash during a search of D incidental to the arrest. The officer also located cocaine, marihuana, ten suspected Fentanyl pills and more cash in a sports bag in the vehicle. Two cell phones were next to the sports bag. One of them was constantly ringing. D was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking. A trial date has been scheduled.
- Firearm Offences, Possession of Drugs for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of Proceeds of Crime
The Edmonton police received information from a confidential informant that B was using his business as a hub for drug trafficking. Live surveillance was conducted over numerous days in the vicinity of the main entrance. The police observed interactions between people coming and going that they believed were consistent with drug trafficking. During the investigation the police also located B’s residence and identified his motor vehicle. A search warrant was obtained for the business, residence and vehicle. B was stopped when driving his vehicle away from the residence and arrested. The business premises and residence were then searched after being secured by tactical teams. During the searches the police denied B the right to contact a lawyer contrary to s 10(b) of the Charter of Rights. A handgun, cash, drug paraphernalia and various quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine were seized from the business premises. A court date is pending.
An undercover officer with a Calgary police street team was working a bar on 17th Avenue SW which is designated as a high intensity drug trafficking area. Cst P asked M if he knew where she could “get any soft”. M gave her D’s number. The constable called but there was no answer. She then sent a text: “Hi..it’s Kait. Met your friend M. Can you hook me up?” There was no reply. The constable spoke to M again asking where his friend was. M said he’d get in touch with him but she never saw M again. Cst. P called the number again. A male answered. Cst P said: “I got your number from M.” The male said his name was D. Cst P asked “if he was free to meet” and D said in about an hour. They later met at a strip mall where D sold 2.3 grams of cocaine to the undercover officer for $200. D was arrested a week later and charged with drug trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime. A court date is pending.
The police had a motel under surveillance. They were on the look out for P armed with a Canada wide arrest warrant. Four men left a suite around midnight and ran to a waiting vehicle. One of the men matched P’s description based on clothing and general appearance. The police stopped the vehicle. But P was not in it. The police saw a bag sticking out from under the front passenger seat. They searched the vehicle without a warrant and seized the bag that contained over half a kilogram of cocaine, oxycodone and marihuana. They also seized a large quality of cash from B who was Mr Rice’s client. All three men were charged with possession of the drugs for the purpose of trafficking. B was also charged with possessing the proceeds of crime. The defendants did not assert a privacy interest in the vehicle and did not challenge the lawfulness of the search and seizure under s 8 of the Charter of Rights. The Crown Attorney, however, had a formidable task to prove possession. Who knew the drugs were under the seat? Not even the driver could be tagged with constructive knowledge. He was not the registered owner of the vehicle. And there were no fingerprints on the bag to establish manual handling and a measure of control. The Crown Attorney was eventually left holding the bag when all charges were withdrawn on the trial date.
The RCMP received informant information that B had been transporting drugs into Fort McMurray on the Red Arrow bus from Edmonton. They set up surveillance at the Fort McMurray bus depot. On the day of arrest B was met at the bus depot by S and they left together in S’s car. The police stopped the vehicle on the highway into Fort McMurray and seized $30,000 worth of heroin and oxycodone from B’s shoulder bag. During the preliminary inquiry, the investigating constable conceded to Mr Rice in cross-examination that the police had no information that B was carrying drugs on the day of arrest and they therefore did not have probable cause to stop the vehicle on the highway. The Crown Attorney was faced with the prospect that a trial judge might throw the drugs out of court. On the other hand, B was faced with the possibility that a trial judge might admit the drugs into evidence irrespective of the unlawful arrest. The Crown Attorney offered a deal whereby B pleaded guilty to simple possession of the drugs and was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment. All other charges were withdrawn. As Kenny Rogers might say – you’ve got to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em.