Elderly cocaine dealer avoids jail-time

KAMLOOPS - A 72-year-old cocaine dealer was handed house arrest and a curfew today after the judge ruled his health would interfere with incarceration.

Robert Ehlert pleaded guilty to two counts of trafficking cocaine and two counts of possession for the purpose of tracking after he was caught selling cocaine to an undercover officer out of his Lee Creek residence last year. RCMP found about $2,000 worth of cocaine along with score sheets and marijuana in his home following the bust.

"It's astonishing that a man who's aged 72… would be trafficking cocaine," said B.C. Supreme Court Justice Hope Hyslop.

The Crown recommended Ehlert serve 10 months in prison, however defence lawyer Don Campbell requested a special sentence due to Ehlert's health conditions.

Campbell proposed a probation order including 24-hour house arrest because of heart problems, depression and prostate cancer, currently in remission. Campbell said it would strain the system to tend to Ehlert's medical appointments and noted he may need surgery in the future.

"I see no point in putting Mr. Ehlert in jail at the age of 72 with severe health problems," Hyslop said during her decision today.

She issued a suspended sentence with a probation order of 14 months including eight months house arrest and six months of special curfew.

"Failure (to comply) may result in a jail sentence," she added.

To contact a reporter for this story, email: jwallace@infotelnews.ca, call: (250) 319-7494 or tweet: @jess__wallace.

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