Vernon man charged with trafficking fentanyl, cocaine awaits trial

Sheldon Veness faces two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
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VERNON - A Vernon man accused of dealing fentanyl and cocaine will face a judge next year.

Sheldon Donald Lee Veness, born in 1993, is due to stand trial in Vernon Provincial Court May 11, 2017 on two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking after getting arrested on Aug. 5, 2016.

The drugs he was allegedly caught dealing were cocaine and fentanyl, according to a police report delivered to Vernon city council yesterday, Nov. 14. Following the report, Coun. Catherine Lord asked Insp. Gord Stewart if cases involving fentanyl are treated more severely by authorities. 

"It's almost like a loaded weapon as far as death is concerned," Lord said. 

Insp. Stewart said it is up to the courts to decide how harshly offenders are dealt with. 

"My sense is that the courts are well aware of the public health crisis fentanyl has presented and in some cases are acting accordingly," Stewart said. 

Veness is among the first individuals in B.C. to be prosecuted for trafficking fentanyl, a relatively new drug health officials say is 100 times more potent than heroin. Its deadly effects have claimed numerous lives across the province.

Last summer, what is believed to be the first ever sentence for fentanyl dealing was handed down in Kamloops Supreme Court. Matthew Hickson, 32, was charged with possession of cocaine and fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking and earned nearly two-and-a-half years behind bars.

Veness is a prolific offender with a lengthy criminal record. At the moment, he is also facing robbery charges for an incident at a corner store in Vernon.

The allegations against Veness have not been proven in court. 


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