June 16th, 2024

Drug trafficker gets four years on multiple charges


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on February 25, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 36-year-old man who was arrested following repeated drug busts in 2020 and 2021, has been sent to a federal penitentiary.
Bradley Stephen Paskiuski was sentenced to four years in prison after he pleaded guilty Thursday in Lethbridge provincial court to multiple charges of drug possession for the purpose of trafficking and single counts of failing to comply with a release order, unauthorized possession of a weapon, and possession of a firearm while prohibited.
Crown Prosecutor Mark Klassen told court Paskiuski, 36, was arrested on Dec. 22, 2020 during a police drug trafficking investigation. Police had been watching Paskiuski for several days leading up to his arrest, and saw him involved in what appeared to be hand-to-hand drug transactions at a city residence. Police arrested him in front of the residence, and found inside a backpack he was carrying 10.8 grams of fentanyl, 31.4 grams of methamphetamine, 5.8 grams of cocaine, a cellphone and plastic bags.
Inside a bedroom in the residence, police found another 15.5 grams of fentanyl, 131.4 grams of meth, and 25.3 grams of cocaine, as well as a cellphone, digital scale and more plastic bags.
Paskiuski was subsequently released on bail, but on Jan. 8 he was arrested again at a hotel after police saw him meeting with a number of people in the parking lot. He was arrested as he was returning to his hotel room, and police found cash and a small amount of meth in one of his pockets, and a cellphone and digital scale in a duffel bag. They also found inside a fanny pack around his waist 36.4 grams of meth, 14 grams of fentanyl, and 7.4 grams of cocaine.
Paskiuski was released on bail a month later, with several conditions, but during the following summer police received information that Paskiuski was selling drugs, and on Oct. 25 they began watching him and saw him engaged in what appeared to be numerous drug transactions. They searched a westside residence on Oct. 29 and found in his bedroom 661 grams of meth, 245 grams of fentanyl, cash, drug scales, packaging and a shotgun, for which Paskiuski did not have a licence. He was also subject to a weapons prohibition at the time.
Lethbridge lawyer Tracy Hembroff pointed out that her client co-operated with police each time he was arrested, and on one occasion he was even strip searched. She noted Paskiuski, who is addicted to drugs, fell back into the drug trade following his release from prison after a 2018 conviction, because he was unable to find work as a welder and because of the lure of the drug subculture in Lethbridge.
“These people are very well known to each other, and the minute somebody comes back to the fold, back to the flock, it’s very hard to walk away,” Hembroff said.
Judge Erin Olsen scolded Paskiuski for his involvement in the drug trade, particularly given the current drug crisis across Canada, in which thousands of people have died from drugs, especially fentanyl, and drug use has led to thousands of broken families, orphaned children and endless health problems.
“You have played, in the midst of that crisis, a major role, Mr. Paskiuski,” Olsen said.
Paskiuski was credited with the equivalent of nine months already spent in remand custody, reducing his sentence to three years and three months. He is prohibited for life from possessing weapons, and he must submit a sample of his DNA for the National DNA Databank.

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