June 15th, 2024

Woman avoids jail time for drug charges


By Delon Shurtz on September 24, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge woman who was used as a courier for drug traffickers has avoided jail, but will be on probation until 2023.
Crystal Stotz, 20, pleaded guilty last week in Lethbridge provincial court to one count of drug trafficking and was handed an 18-month suspended sentence with probation and several conditions.
In September of 2019 Lethbridge police had begun an investigation into a group of people that was trafficking drugs in the Lethbridge area. Police spent several days conducting surveillance, and an undercover officer ultimately arranged to buy drugs. Although the drug buys were with various people, the sales were always organized by the same two individuals, court was told.
On Feb. 20 of this year an undercover officer arranged to buy 14 grams of cocaine. The transaction was arranged with one of the targets of the investigation, but the drugs were delivered by Stotz, who was not one of the targets but was a courier.
“She attended the arranged deal and she did hand-to-hand with the undercover officer,” said Federal Crown Prosecutor Mark Klassen.
Klassen noted Stotz, who does not have a criminal record, was “used by others as part of a larger operation.”
Lethbridge lawyer Tracy Hembroff said her client, who was only 18 years old at the time, comes from a family with a long history of severe criminal behaviour and addictions. Hembroff said the group who used Stotz as a courier are much older and “very involved” in drug trafficking in Lethbridge.
Stotz was co-operative with police and gave them a full statement, Hembroff added.
“I’m of the view that it was very helpful to the police in their investigation regarding the other five individuals that were involved.”
She said Stotz has not breached any of her release conditions, and since her arrest has lived a drug-free lifestyle.
“Whatever was going on in her 18-year-old life at the time is no longer going on.”

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