KAMLOOPS - It’s a rare sentence, but a Kamloops drug dealer managed to prove he met the ‘exceptional circumstances’ to avoid jail after selling ecstasy and cocaine to undercover police.
Joseph Diotte, 25, pleaded guilty in Kamloops Supreme Court yesterday, Feb. 15, to trafficking cocaine and MDMA in December 2014 and received a 30-month probationary sentence.
Kamloops RCMP’s drug unit suspected Diotte was selling cocaine and obtained his phone number which they texted to arrange three separate drug deals. During their first encounter, a female officer arranged to meet Diotte in the Safeway Parking lot on Columbia Street to purchase the drug Dec. 11.
Federal Crown prosecutor Anthony Varesi said the female officer purchased .83 grams of the drug for $100. As they made the exchange, Varesi said Diotte told the officer he could also sell her crystallized MDMA that could “knock her socks off."
After leaving the location, RCMP pulled Diotte over for speeding and identified him.
The next day, the same officer met the dealer to purchase cocaine again, this time at a Shell station on Hugh Allen Drive. During the interaction, Varesi said Diotte reached into his Jeep’s console to retrieve a baggie of the MDMA and told the officer it "will knock you on your ass."
On Dec. 18, the undercover contacted Diotte to sell her ecstasy but was told he ‘needed to reload,’ Varesi said.
The unit purchased $500 worth of cocaine and ecstasy during a one-week period.
Varesi said his dealing was sophisticated enough to run a dial-a-dope operation and he was selling two separate drugs. Indicating he needed to reload his supply demonstrated he was involved with other criminals, Varesi added.
“It appears to have been a busy commercial operation for profit,” he said.
Crown asked Justice Dev Dley to impose a six-month jail sentence and a 10-year firearms ban.
Diotte's lawyer Brad Smith said his client’s case showed a series of ‘exceptional circumstances’ and recommended his sentence would be better served in the community.
Smith said Diotte was addicted to cocaine at the time of the offences and used his earnings to pay for his living expense. Since his arrest, Smith said his client rehabilitated and overcame his addiction. He added Diotte has no criminal record prior to this conviction and is working towards a better job.
When he worked as a drug dealer, Smith said Diotte mainly operated out of his Jeep and worked alone with a single phone. He said at one point, he volunteered his real name to the undercover officers.
“He was an unsophisticated fellow, frankly, when it came to this operation,” Smith said. “This offence was truly out of character for this accused."
Dley agreed Diotte’s case was exceptional enough to warrant a suspended sentence. For the first six months of his sentence, Diotte will be under house arrest. He is prohibited from owning firearms for the next 10 years and is required to provide his DNA to the national database.
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