July 11, 2016 - 1:06 PM
KAMLOOPS - A man who pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine and fentanyl will be spending nearly two and a half years in prison.
Matthew Hickson, 32, was sentenced in Kamloops Supreme Court today, July 11, by Judge Hope Hyslop.
Hickson was 30-years-old at the time of the offences and has been out on bail since he was arrested in November 2015. Hickson had been running his own drug ring in Kamloops, and would frequently travel to the Lower Mainland for supply, court heard.
Hyslop told the court during sentencing that after the interception of text messages, police surveillance and confidential informants coming forward, Hickson was stopped in Merritt on his way to Kamloops on Nov. 5, 2015.
Court heard officers found a black-brown bag in the back of Hickson's truck and inside they discovered 386 grams of cocaine worth nearly $31,000, a drug-cutting agent and 490 pills of counterfeit oxycodone — which contained fentanyl — worth between $4,800 and $9,600.
Hyslop said there was no evidence Hickson knew he was handling product that contained fentanyl, but stressed the dangers associated with the powerful drug.
"What is important to know, fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine," Hyslop said. "The danger of fentanyl lies within the potency and overdose risk."
Crown asked for four years behind bars and defence asked for 12 to 15 months.
Court heard Hickson was leading a productive, successful life up until he began to dabble in drugs in his late 20s. This started after his common-law partner was diagnosed with cancer and had to move to the coast.
Hyslop told the court she believed the chance of Hickson rehabilitating himself was likely, as she detailed the steps he has been taking since his release. Hickson has been attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings and his sponsor says Hickson has been clean for seven months.
Court heard Hickson has not breached his bail conditions and has successfully obtained employment.
Hyslop is hopeful that if Hickson continues on this path "he will be able to return to his pre-drug life" and sentenced him to 28 months in jail.
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