April 24, 2013 - 4:52 PM
A Kamloops drug dealer was handed a lengthy federal prison sentence today for her fifth and sixth trafficking convictions in seven years.
Tammy Van Buskirk will serve three and a half years in prison on two convictions dating back to 2011 for possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Crown prosecutor Anthony Varesi told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ian Meiklem that Van Buskirk was beyond rehabilitation.
He recommended a sentence of four and a half years, adding it 'may seem high' but rehabilitation was not realistic based on her history.
The first of the two incidents occurred in May 2011 when Van Buskirk was busted with .29 grams of cocaine - worth about $40 on the street - in a dial-a-dope operation by an undercover police officer.
After being released on bail, she was caught again just a few months later in August with a much more substantial amount - about one ounce of crack-cocaine valued at over $2,000 on the street.
"Since she has committed the two offences, the higher sentence is justified," Varesi said.
Defence lawyer Ken Walker told the court that Van Buskirk suffered from a troubled upbringing and complicated past which led her down the wrong path.
He said she was raised in and out of foster care, molested by her biological mother's ex-boyfriend as a teenager and abused by multiple men in her life leading to physical and mental health problems and an unhealthy appetite for prescription drugs.
Walker said her most recent convictions came after being forced to pay off nearly $20,000 in drug debts for an old boyfriend despite efforts to clean up her life by picking up and moving to Radium.
"They pressured her to sell drugs," Walker said.
He proposed the maximum sentence in a provincial facility of two years less a day as well as two years probation, adding the sentence would give society and the Crown control over her for four years.
Meiklem acknowledged Van Buskirk's difficult childhood and upbringing but said he could not go along with the defence's proposition.
"She hasn't had a proven track record," he said. "The public must be protected."
"Probation would not be protective of the public."
Van Buskirk received 18 months for the first offence and 24 months for the second offence to be served consecutively in a federal correctional facility.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013