A woman from Nanaimo has been sentenced to 36 months in a federal penitentiary for trafficking heroin and fentanyl.
Courtenay Serah Cross, 44, appeared in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo on June 19 via video due to COVID-19 precautions.
Cross’s conviction and sentencing resulted from a police investigation into drug activity at 512 Albert St. in downtown Nanaimo in January of 2017 when Cross was arrested with another man and police found heroin and fentanyl in the residence.
Cross was to be sentenced for one count of possession of heroin and fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking and one count of possession of cocaine in June 2019, but she did not appear for her sentencing hearing, so a warrant for her arrest was issued. She was apprehended in December and has been in custody since.
The Crown and Cross’s defence advanced a joint submission to the court for a sentence of 36 months in custody with nine months credited for time already spent in custody and for Cross to serve the remaining 27 months.
Justice Paul Riley noted the sentence was “appropriate and necessary” since Cross had been convicted of possessing for trafficking potentially deadly drugs.
“Ms. Cross has personal experience with the dangerous nature of heroin, having lost two friends to heroin overdose while she was still a teenager. It is commonly recognized that fentanyl is even more lethal and more dangerous,” Riley noted.
Cross also has a criminal record with 30 prior convictions, seven for drug trafficking offences, which had resulted in a 13-month sentence which she received after a conviction in 2013. Riley noted none of this had driven home the message that drug trafficking is serious criminal conduct with grave impacts on the community and serious consequences.
Riley said Cross had never been fully committed to dealing with her drug problem.
“I can only hope that in the time Ms. Cross will spend in the federal penal system, she will come to grips with her problem and take advantage of any programming that is available to her in that regard,” the judge said.
Riley also ordered the forfeiture of funds and other items of offence-related property seized during the execution of the search warrant, which included $800 in cash and assorted drug use paraphernalia.
“You cannot continue on the path that you were on when you committed these offences. Your conduct was not only self-destructive, but also extremely dangerous and harmful to others in the community…” the judge said. “Second … there is reason to be hopeful about your future. You should be looking forward to moving in a positive direction. That is rehabilitation.”