"GOING TO JAIL HAS BEEN A HUGE EYE-OPENER."
KELOWNA - An Okanagan man was sentenced in Kelowna Court Friday on 11 counts related to the production and use of counterfeit money, drugs and weapons.
Jesse Mcdonald pled guilty and received a conditional sentence of six months plus time served for using fake U.S. currency at Duncan’s restaurant in Kelowna as well as for attempting to sell 12.5 grams of PCP, worth approximately $500, to an undercover officer in Penticton.
He was arrested Oct. 8, 2013 when police raided an apartment known for drug activity in the 1800 block of High Road. During the search, police found bear spray, equipment used for counterfeiting American currency as well as small quantities of cocaine and crystal meth. He was arrested along with a 26-year-old female who also faces charges of counterfeiting and drug dealing.
At the time of the arrests, Mcdonald was on bail for an offense that took place in May where he texted a cell phone that was in police custody asking for help selling “half an ounce of angel dust (PCP).” Penticton Drug Task Force members arranged a meeting at an A&W on Riverside Drive in Penticton where Mcdonald was arrested. Police found him in possession of a knife and 12.2 grams of PCP “hidden in his buttocks,” according to Crown prosecutor Clark Burnett.
Defense lawyer Wayne Jennings pointed out that Mcdonald, 27, has no criminal record, and was in the grip of a heroin addiction at the time of both offenses. He also noted that Mcdonald’s girlfriend, Lindsay Purdy, 26, also arrested at the notorious house on High Road, took the blame for the bills and counterfeiting equipment.
“It is clear that (counterfeiting currency) was more her idea than his,” conceded Crown prosecutor Ann MacDonald. She asked Judge Mark Takahashi for a sentence of 9 months jail time for the drug and weapons charges.
Mcdonald has been in custody since his arrest in October and asked for leniency based on his lack of a criminal record and seeming willingness to change his ways.
“Going to jail has been a huge eye-opener,” he said. “I’d like to say sorry to society and to my family. I won’t be going back to that lifestyle.”
Jennings asked for a conditional sentence, based on Mcdonald’s eagerness to enter into a three-month rehabilitation centre in Surrey and willingness to sever ties with friends he labeled as bad influences.
“Mr. Mcdonald has told me on two separate occasions that he has no intention of remaining with Miss Purdy,” Jennings said.
Of the charges brought against Mcdonald, Takahashi said that it was the counterfeiting that worried him the most.
"(Counterfeiting) involves a substantial amount of premeditation so it calls for a harsher punishment," he said.
Mcdonald was sentenced to 109 days of time served, three months in a rehabilitation facility and three months house arrest.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at email@example.com, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.