May 03, 2013 - 6:15 AM
Two men accused of running a dial-a-dope operation in Vernon known as the Triple Six Boys have turned against each other in their Supreme court trial.
Jason Parent, 33, and Andrew Pinette, 23, are charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking. Each is attempting to protect himself, with one defense lawyer calling it a "cutthroat case."
Evidence against the men was gathered in one day in 2010, during which undercover officers phoned the expected dial-a-dope number and set up three meets with the dealers. The officers never revealed themselves, but rather made observations from afar, including seeing numerous brief encounters with people, and one individual pop something into his mouth after leaving the car.
RCMP drug investigator Matthew Rattee and Const. Tory Romailler gave evidence Crown lawyer Kylie Walman said proves beyond a reasonable doubt Parent and Pinette were working jointly in a dial-a-dope drug operation.
"Parent handled the driving and (phone) calls, Pinette the drugs and the money," Walman said Thursday, when final submissions were given to Supreme court justice Frank Cole.
She said the testimonies of the co-accused were not reliable, and pointed out weaknesses in their accounts.
At the time of his arrest, Pinette was sitting on $445 cash and a bag of crack cocaine. The cash was separated into sections of a wallet, which Walman said is consistent with how drug dealers organize their money. Working in pairs is also indicative of a drug operation, because it's safer, Walman said.
Pinette testified the money and the drugs must have fallen from his lap onto the seat, and said half the cash was for a night out on the town, and half to buy drugs from Parent. He claimed to have no control in the operation, stating he was only making a purchase and catching a ride.
Judge Cole said it was 'unrealistic' that Pinette, a pizza cook at the time, could afford spending $200 at the bar. He also wondered why Pinette would drive around town with a known drug dealer, if all he wanted was to buy some goods.
Turning to Parent, Cole quizzed defense lawyer Brian Loewen about the connection between three cell phones discovered in the car and a headset worn by Parent.
Loewen conceded that some of the numbers on the cell phones matched those on the headset, but told Cole it still didn't prove anything. In the trial, Loewen argued the police didn't have enough evidence to arrest and search the accused at all.
Parent, who now lives in Alberta, said he wore the headset because he was waiting for a call from his girlfriend. Later, he admitted he had no girlfriend.
"He's lying about something," Cole said. "There are three occasions the car arrived for a drug sale. (That's) consistent with a drug transaction. It's not consistent with a social meeting."
Cole will give his decision Friday morning at 8:45 a.m.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250) 309-5230.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013