|Walter James McCormick, accused of bearing "personal significant responsibility for hundreds of fentanyl-detected deaths in British Columbia", has been given 14 years in prison, in the first major fentanyl-related sentencing in British Columbia since the opioid crisis began. |
He was sentenced Monday, after an extended trial that centred around the government's desire to create a new sentencing range for fentanyl trafficking, a case in which the Crown was asking for an unprecedented 18-year prison term.
Judge Bonnie Craig said that the skyrocketing increase of fentanyl-related deaths in B.C. could not be set aside when deciding the sentencing range.
Thousands of pills were seized in Project Tainted
|McCormick was one of 10 people arrested in relation to Project Tainted, a police operation carried out in response to a rash of overdoses in October 2014. More than 29,000 fentanyl pills were seized in the months-long investigation, along with oxycodone, methamphetamine, heroin and guns.|
While on bail, McCormick, who already had an extended history of drug trafficking, was subsequently charged with several new offences in Richmond, and had an additional 1,000 fentanyl pills seized on May 18, 2016.
|Craig wrote that "when determining the appropriate sentence for Mr. McCormick I must take into account ... that an increasing number of people are dying due to the illegal sale of fentanyl," and that his criminal history showed "little evidence of any prospect for rehabilitation."|