Kelowna fentanyl dealer escapes heavy sentence | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna fentanyl dealer escapes heavy sentence

May 06, 2021 - 7:30 AM

A Kelowna man caught with a massive amount of drugs, including fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine was sentenced to two years in prison despite what the judge called “exceptional” efforts and actions to change his life.

Brandon Robert Campbell, 29, was going to prison, no matter what and the fact he had 627.5 grams of fentanyl was likely going to send him there for a long time. B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kathleen Ker had dealt with fentanyl dealers before and knew too well the death toll in B.C. caused by fentanyl, noting that a population the size of Rossland or Chemainus had already died in B.C.

But Ker also noted that Campbell was quite unlike most offenders she finds. He was straight forward with police about his involvement once arrested and after police found the fentanyl, 846 grams of cocaine and nearly 400 grams of meth at his home on Old Meadows Road. He identified himself as a mid-level dealer on the “night shift", dropping off ounces at a time to street level dealers, making nearly $2,000 per day.

He told police and Justice Ker the opportunity to sell drugs “landed in his lap” and he took it. Roughly two years earlier, he was fully employed, had no criminal record and made great efforts to be there for his young son. That was backed up by supportive letters from his son’s mother and her boyfriend, who both called him an “excellent” and “caring” father.

He kept a full time job for six years, until it ran out of business two years before he was caught at age 26. Campbell had been dealing with addiction issues since he was 14 years old, learned from both of his parents. Roughly a year before he was caught, he lost a job and the opportunity arose. He took it, he said, so he could provide for his son.

Campbell refused to participate in a mandated process to explore the legacy of systemic abuse of Indigenous people in sentencing, saying he never explored his or his father’s Metis heritage.

"Nevertheless, it is apparent that Mr. Campbell's father was physically abusive to his wife and children, and that Mr. Campbell experienced that abuse first-hand and witnessed it inflicted upon his mother and brother,” Ker wrote. "Moreover, drug abuse by both parents was a constant feature in the home during Mr. Campbell's formative years. This negative and corrosive influence has replicated itself in Mr. Campbell's own addiction issues. To his great credit, Mr. Campbell has grappled with his addiction issues and has them under control."

While awaiting sentencing, he took advantage of supports through the criminal justice system and completed a methadone program.

But the courts have recognized that fentanyl is a killer and dealers are bound to get harsher sentences. Ker noted that absent the exceptional circumstances Campbell presented, a sentence of three to ten years was likely. The Crown sought eight years in prison. 

"Mr. Campbell, no doubt, it will take a lifetime effort to maintain being clean,” she said. "You have so many reasons to do so, not the least of which is your little boy. Stay on your path no matter how much it may seem that things are crumbling. No good will come of returning to consuming or selling drugs.”

She sentenced him to two years in prison and three years probation.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones or call 250-718-2724 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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