May 19th, 2024

Woman receives suspended sentence and probation for possession of proceeds of crime


By Lethbridge Herald on November 7, 2021.

Delon Shurtz – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge woman who pleaded guilty Thursday in Lethbridge provincial court to one count of possession of the proceeds of crime relating to drug trafficking, has avoided jail, but she will have to take counseling and provide community service.

Theresa Sheyanne Lees was given a suspended sentence and placed on probation for one year, during which she is prohibited from possessing weapons and using drugs. She must also complete 25 hours of community service and receive counseling as directed by her probation officer.

In September 2020 Lethbridge police officers began investigating Lees and a number of other individuals for suspected drug trafficking in the city. During three days of surveillance, officers saw activity consistent with trafficking, and obtained a search warrant for Lee’s residence and vehicle.

On Sept. 16 officers who were following Lees, arrested her outside of a city pub and found in her possession $680. A subsequent search of her vehicle and residence netted police another $1,780, considered the proceeds of crime.

Federal Crown Prosecutor Mark Klassen pointed out Lees has a criminal record dating back to 2012, but nothing related to proceeds of crime or drugs. He and defence jointly recommended the judge impose the suspended sentence and probation.

Calgary lawyer Lyndon Heidinger told court his 45-year-old client and mother of three adult children, comes from a broken home, and for most of her adult life was employed in the bar/lounge industry. During COVID and its impact on the economy she fell on hard times, got involved with the wrong people and made some bad decisions.

Since her arrest, however, she has “separated herself from…that negative peer group,” started her own cleaning business, and is doing better.

Heidinger said the incident has served as a “wake-up call,” and Lees has maintained her sobriety ever since.

Lees was also charged at the time of her arrest with drug possession and drug possession for the purpose of trafficking, but those charges were withdrawn by the Crown during Thursday’s sentencing hearing.

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