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Judge has harsh words and prison sentence for Kelowna man who turned to drug dealing after losing job in Alberta

September 08, 2017 - 4:30 PM

KELOWNA – An out of work oil worker who turned to dealing drugs in the Okanagan has been sentenced for a sophisticated, illegal pharmacy he ran in the Okanagan.

Shelden Durno Harris, 33, was arrested at his home in Kelowna the evening of Oct. 9, 2014 after police saw him in his kitchen “packaging substances into baggies,” Justice Victoria Gray writes in a recently released sentencing decision.

Harris, who turned to drug dealing after losing his job in Alberta, was arrested at a gas station the next morning.

In the trunk of his 2005 Audi, police found 1,110 grams of cocaine, 210 grams of heroin, 307 grams of methamphetamine, and 464 grams of a drug similar to ecstacy.

Police also found 403 grams of hashish in the fridge, $7,000 cash, a pill press, cutting agents, a money counter and scales. Police also found boxes of ammunition but no firearms.

The value for all five drugs is between $162,000 and $230,000, depending if sold by gram or ounce.

Harris was convicted of five counts of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking on June 23, 2017.

“The drugs … were packaged in a way common to controlled substances for sale to consumers at street level or to street-level traffickers,” Gray writes.

They were in baggies with the tops cut off, twisted and tied in a way consistent with trafficking. The cocaine was in 23 one-ounce bags and 45 one-quarter ounce bags. The heroin was in 54 bags, each containing an eighth of an ounce.

“The items seized and the quantity and packaging of the Hard Drugs establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Harris was operating what can be described as a mid-level trafficking operation offering a variety of drugs. He was supplying drugs for street-level trafficking. His operation was sophisticated, including security cameras in his home,” Gray writes.

She sentenced him to three years in prison, noting he showed little sympathy for the victims of his crimes.

“Mr. Harris has not, of course, demonstrated remorse by pleading guilty and he has not articulated an appreciation of what harm he has caused his victims, but he has turned his life around or, at least, changed it significantly,” she writes.

“You may well have distributed drugs which resulted in one or more people dying from an overdose or suffering other terrible consequences from using these drugs, such as brain damage and seizures. You may have distributed drugs which led a casual or a first-time drug user to become a drug addict, leading to the desperate life of a drug addict, which usually involves crime and often involves violence. Even if you did not cause someone’s death or addiction or disability, you have preyed on the misery of drug addiction.”


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