Charges stayed against wife of fentanyl and carfentanil dealer | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Charges stayed against wife of fentanyl and carfentanil dealer

Cassie Bonthoux and James Nelson in an undated photo.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Facebook
July 23, 2020 - 6:30 AM

Charges against the now ex-wife of a Kelowna man who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for trafficking fentanyl and carfentanil on the dark web have been stayed.

On Aug. 3, 2018 Cassie Bonthoux, the then-wife of James Nelson, was charged alongside her partner with six trafficking charges, four charges of importing/exporting drugs, and three firearm-related charges.

The Crown stayed three of the trafficking charges, two of the importing/exporting charges, and one firearms charge in 2019. Tuesday's sentencing of Nelson was also the final chapter for Bonthoux.

“Following the guilty pleas entered by Mr. Nelson and then subsequently being sentenced, the charges against Ms. Bonthoux were stayed,” said Nathalie Houle, for the Federal Crown.

The details of why the charges were stayed were not made available, as is common practice.

Nelson, 38, is the first person to be sentenced for trafficking of fentanyl and carfentanil on the dark web in Canada, said Justice Barry Davies.

In sentencing, Davies said the "sophistication in methodology and execution" in addition to the apparent disregard for those dying in 2017, as the opioid crisis picked up speed in B.C., were ample cause for the 16-year sentence recommended by the Crown.

He ended up going with 11 years for the carfentanil charge and four years for the fentanyl charge — to be served concurrently.

The investigation into Bonthoux and Nelson was initiated by the Calgary Police Service and involved the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and local Mounties.

They raided Nelson’s Black Mountain home and the Duke & Duchess clothing store he owned in downtown Kelowna in August 2017.

They’d followed the trail he left online by advertising and selling drugs on the dark web, to anonymous buyers he never met, using the nickname FatTuesday_13. A person would place an order online, and they would ship it out through Canada Post, tucked into a magazine.

In that raid, police seized 1.52 grams of fentanyl and 102.91 grams of carfentanil destined for Canadian, American, European and Australian cities.

There was also 93 receipts from Canada post in one month, $84,000 in bitcoin and the drugs carried a street value as high as $400,000.

It all lined up with the intelligence collected from police in the preceding months and it was one of the largest seizures of those drugs and money at the time.

The court heard Nelson and Bonthoux had a $10,000 a month drug addiction that was being fed through the operation.

Their young child was removed from their custody after this incident.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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