June 17th, 2024

Drug trafficker pleads guilty to two counts

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on January 25, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge man who sold drugs to an undercover police officer on two occasions in 2019, won’t be sentenced until the spring.

Brian Robert James, who previously elected to be tried by a Court of King’s Bench judge with a preliminary hearing, instead pleaded guilty last week in Lethbridge provincial court to two counts of drug trafficking. Sentencing was adjourned, however, to allow time for the preparation of a pre-sentence report, which will provide the lawyers and judge information about the offender’s background and circumstances to better help the judge determine a fit sentence.

Court was told that in July 2019 police received information through Crime Stoppers that James was selling cocaine in the Lethbridge area, and could be reached by calling a certain phone number.

An undercover police officer began investigating the suspected drug trafficking and called the cellphone number. A man who identified himself only as Brian arranged to meet the buyer at a convenience store on 23 Street North.

“They met at the parking lot around 2:40 in the afternoon, and Mr. James sold the undercover police officer 0.6 grams of cocaine for $100,” said Federal Crown Prosecutor Mark Klassen.

At about 5:30 p.m. the following day the officer called the cellphone number again and spoke to James, and they arranged to meet at a location on Stafford Drive. The officer drove to the location, picked up James, and while sitting in the vehicle bought 0.4 grams of cocaine for $80.

The matter is scheduled to return to court April 13 for a sentencing hearing, during which the Crown and defence will provide the judge with their recommendations for a sentence.

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