Items seized by Charlottetown police included a .22-calibre rifle, drugs and thousands of dollars in cash. (Brian Higgins/CBC) An Island man has been sentenced to two years in jail in connection with what police and a Crown prosecutor say could be the largest cocaine seizure in Island history.
Glen Paul Steele, 31, of Fanning Brook, had pleaded guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking and other charges. Charlottetown police seized 2.2 kilograms of cocaine last April from a garage loft Steele was renting in York.
"It could be the largest quantity ever seized in this jurisdiction," said Chera-Lee Gomez, federal prosecutor, during Monday’s sentencing hearing in P.E.I. Supreme Court. Charlottetown police seize $500K of cocaine
Gomez read an agreed statement of facts into the court record.
The street crime unit of Charlottetown police began watching Steele in November 2016, according to facts read in court. Their investigation focused on three properties: Steele’s home in Fanning Brook, the property in York owned by Bruce Duck where Steele rented the garage loft, and the property of another man, in Springvale, P.E.I.
Police watched Steele visit the properties in York and Springvale, and then they observed other people, including those they considered to be known drug users, making quick stops at the homes following Steele’s departure. Rifle, ammunition seized
Last April, police executed search warrants at all three properties. In addition to the cocaine seized from the garage loft, police also found ammunition and a .22-calibre rifle in a desk in the master bedroom of Steele’s home in Fanning Brook.
On the day of the searches, police tried to pull Steele over, but he refused to stop and took off at a high speed. According to the agreed facts, he went to a residence in Oyster Bed Bridge where he swapped cars and took off again.
Court heard Steele left P.E.I. but returned in October to turn himself in to police.
Two other men were arrested the day of the searches. One man received a fine for drug possession. The case of another man involved is still before the courts. Difficult childhood taken into account
The crown prosecutor had asked the judge to sentence Steele to three and a half years in federal prison, but both crown and defence said the judge should take his Indigenous heritage into account, and the difficult circumstances of his childhood.
The Mi’kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. had compiled a 30-page report outlining issues related to Steele’s family situation and Aboriginal heritage, which had been provided to the court before Monday’s sentencing.
"He had been sexually abused. He had been physically abused, all at the hands of people who were supposed to protect him," said defence lawyer Stan MacDonald. "The people who were looking after him had been through the same thing. They were suffering while they tried to raise him.
"This is the impact of institutionalization and loss of culture … deep rooted Aboriginal issues," he said.
Justice Nancy Key sentenced Steele to three years on probation after he gets out of jail. She ordered him to get counselling and treatment, including traditional Indigenous healing as directed by Mi’kmaq elders.
"This is a real opportunity to heal, for you to understand those things in your past for which you had no control," said Key. More P.E.I. News
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