September 23, 2013 - 4:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - A Chase man who claimed to be providing a 'service' to the economy as a drug dealer was sentenced to 10 months in jail today in Kamloops Supreme Court.
"The accused has it wrong when he dismisses his trafficking," said B.C. Supreme Court Justice John Steeves.
Ernest Klassen, 60, was convicted by Steeves on multiple charges including trafficking cocaine, possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and possession of a controlled substance.
His charges stemmed from an RCMP undercover operation in 2012 that uncovered over $2,000 in cocaine along with a quantity of marijuana and magic mushrooms in Klassen's home. His dining room was the centre of an operation to weigh, package and process cocaine. Scales and scoresheets were also found at the residence.
Klassen pleaded not guilty and represented himself during the trial in July, however was agreeable with the Crown's case during, and said very little in his own defence.
Crown prosecutor Anthony Varesi asked Steeves to impose a one-year jail sentence on Klassen. His record includes some similar offences, the most recent conviction in 2010.
"It didn't deter him from engaging in more serious activity," Varesi said. "It's troubling."
Varesi said it is uncommon for trafficking to occur out of a dealer's own home and is more commonly delivered directly to consumers through 'dial-a-dope' operations. Klassen said he has already been replaced in the drug 'economy' of his community.
"I was a terrible drug dealer, as you can see by the score sheets," Klassen replied.
He said he was non-violent in his dealings and is a 'decent citizen.'
"I've never had a moral issue with cocaine or marijuana," he said, adding that heroin was off-limits.
His position left Steeves puzzled, and Klassen's honesty didn't pay off.
"The health effects of addiction to cocaine are well-known," Steeves said.
To contact a reporter for this story, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, call: (250) 319-7494 or tweet: @jess__wallace.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013