Fentanyl dealer nabbed by helpful bystanders sentenced in Kelowna court

Anthony James Graham, 30, was arrested Jan. 6, 2016 after a Kelowna RCMP officer pulled him over at the intersection of Highway 33 and Highway 97. He was found in possession of fentanyl, crack, cocaine, meth and loaded weapons.
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KELOWNA - A cocaine, meth and fentanyl dealer was sentenced to three years in prison today, March 29, less than three months after a pair of Kelowna citizens helped tackle him while he was fleeing from police in January.

Anthony James Graham, 30, was arrested Jan. 6, 2016, after a Kelowna RCMP officer pulled him over near the intersection of Highway 33 and Highway 97.

When the officer discovered that he was on court order not to leave his home, she tried to take him into custody but he grabbed a duffel bag that was on the passenger seat and fled, hitting the officer with the door of his SUV.

The officer caught up to him and tackled him but Graham kicked her in the face took off again. He might have gotten away if two civilians hadn't caught him and held him down until other officers arrived.

Inside the vehicle, police found a stash of weapons and drugs, including 34 grams of fentanyl, 96 grams of crystal meth, 98 grams of crack cocaine, 48 grams of powdered cocaine, a loaded handgun with silencer, a loaded SKS semiautomatic rifle, a large hunting knife, a mask, toque, scale, screwdriver, $2,250 in cash and body armour.

Crown lawyer Ashleigh Bayliss says Graham fought throughout the arrest and even tried to grab pepper spray from the officers belt.

“Somebody easily could have been shot or injured,” she said.

Graham pleaded guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a loaded, restricted firearm, possession of a loaded, non-restricted firearm, possession of a prohibited device and resisting arrest.

Graham was sentenced to three years in prison, due in part to his extensive criminal record in B.C., Alberta and Washington State. Graham has 14 criminal convictions, including mischief, resisting arrest, three weapons offences, possession of illegal substances, failure to provide a breath sample and possession of bear spray. He is currently serving a 36 month supervised release for an importing and manufacturing weapons felony conviction in Spokane where he spent 23 months in prison.

His lawyer, Stan Tessmer, said Graham has been addicted to heroin and meth since he was a teenager and told of how Graham once called him complaining of being followed by hundreds of drones. Crown lawyer Bayliss says despite his addiction and psychosis, a lengthy prison sentence is the only way to keep the public safe.

“Mr. Graham’s placement and court orders… have not prevented him from committing new offences,” she said. “Jail appears to be the only way to accomplish that.”

He was given credit for 83 days spent in custody.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infonews.ca or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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