April 19, 2016 - 4:22 PM
KELOWNA – A West Kelowna woman broke down and cried when she was sentenced to four years in jail for her part in importing 15 kg of methylone, a drug known more commonly as 'bath salts,' from China in 2013.
According to Judge Ellen Burdett, Nicole Hubek, 33, a first time offender with no criminal record, played a “significant role” in the scheme, which involved setting up a post office box and accepting delivery. She is clearly not the mastermind, she said, but she was more than just a courier.
"Her role was integral," Burdett said at sentencing today, April 19. "Her participation allowed the principals to carry out their illegal activities.”
Hubek was arrested outside her apartment Sept. 19, 2013, after an undercover officer posing as a Canada Post employee delivered three boxes each containing five kilograms of the schedule 1 drug.
Hubek signed for the packages, telling the officer it was for her work at a friends West Kelowna snow removal company. In reality, court heard, the packages were going to her then-boyfriend who would likely distribute the drug as ecstasy.
The RCMP intercepted the package at the Vancouver International Airport weeks before and planted tracking devices and dye before making the delivery.
When police arrested Hubek, she had just left her apartment with another woman, and the boxes and their contents were left behind in a bathtub partially filled with water. The purple dye was found on the floor on the bathroom and on the hands and clothing of both women.
Crown lawyer Edlyn Laurie characterized Hubek’s involvement as deliberate, citing a “scoresheet” in Hubek’s handwriting found in the apartment. She was found guilty on Nov. 13, 2015.
“She played a key role in receiving the shipment and providing a way at the very least of getting the drugs to the people who are going to be trafficking the drug to the consumers,” Laurie said.
During the trial last year, experts testified the approximate value in Canada would be between $10,000 and $12,000 per kilogram. If sold by the gram, the more than 60,000 doses would be worth over $1 million.
The courtroom was filled with family and friends of Hubek, including her mother, brother and the mother of her new boyfriend.
“We are dealing with someone who has turned their life around,” her lawyer Dave Johnson said. “Unfortunately she has been surprised by a pregnancy recently. She is looking at giving birth to her first child while in prison.”
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