May 02, 2014 - 4:39 PM
PENTICTON — A Penticton man was convicted of trafficking cocaine today, despite his lawyer's claims of sloppy police work by Penticton RCMP.
Erik T.C. Larsen, born in 1984, was arrested in May 2012 for possession of cocaine with intent to sell in a dial-a-dope operation. While Penticton Supreme Court justice Alison Beames found him guilty and will sentence him at a later date, his lawyer said police had no evidence he was a drug dealer until they arrested him.
“This arrest was based on nothing but his hunch or intuition," defense counsel Kristine Neurauter said.
Const. Mike Lewendon told the court he got a tip about a drug dealer, including a phone number. He spoke with someone, then sent a text looking to make an undercover buy. He arranged back up and went to the agreed meeting spot. He saw a slow-moving vehicle with a female driver and male passenger.
He approached the passenger side, opened the door and announced he was police and arrested them. Inside the car, they found found a bag of cigarette boxes containing 10 grams of cocaine. Neurauter said cops did nothing to verify the identity before the arrest—they could have dialed the phone again, identified himself as the buyer, or actually made a purchase. They could have arrested anyone.
“These would have been fast and simple ways to elevate his grounds [for arrest],” she said.
Beames said the text message and phone communication was sufficient grounds for arrest. A sentencing date will be arranged next week.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014