An Estevan drug bust at the end of June resulted in its first sentence handed down in Estevan provincial court on Monday.
Benjamin James Decker pleaded guilty to trafficking marijuana and possessing the proceeds of crime. The 24-year-old was arrested on June 28, when nine others were similarly charged.
On May 12, a pair of undercover police officers went to Decker's residence based on some information that marijuana had been sold there. They spoke with Decker about wanting to buy a quarter ounce of marijuana, and they gave him a phone number he could call.
He called the number and they arranged the exchange at a parking lot in Estevan. He agreed to sell the marijuana for $80. The deal was made inside Decker's truck, when he sold the 7.1 grams to the officers. Because the crime was committed inside his vehicle, it was seized at the time of arrest and has been forfeited as part of sentencing.
Decker received a 12-month conditional sentence, in which the first four months are to be served as house arrest, where he must remain in his residence except for purposes of employment or religious worship. He will reside at his parents' farm near Macoun. For the remaining eight months he is restricted to a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Decker must perform 40 hours of community service and must submit to a search of his person or house by a peace officer without reasonable grounds. There is also a mandatory firearms and ammunition prohibition that goes along with the sentence.
In other court proceedings, Herb Brennan, an Estevan resident, pleaded guilty to public mischief after misleading Estevan Police Service officers. The charge came with a stiff $800 fine.
The 53-year-old Brennan was driving for a cab company in Estevan, when on a slow day he took his fare to a video lottery terminal to try and make some more money. After he lost the money gambling, he called the police and told the officers he had a young man as a fare that night. He said once he took the man to his destination, he was assaulted and robbed.
After some investigation, Brennan admitted to lying about the incident and losing the money himself.
Judge James Benison said, "It's a rather strange set of facts."
He then noted that the $800 fine was a large sum, with the intention of sending a message that this kind of crime is unacceptable.
"The police in this city have plenty to keep them busy without having to deal with false crimes," he added.
In court news out of Regina, on Aug. 19, both the Crown and defence argued sides in the dangerous offender hearing concerning 29-year-old Estevan native Reggie Harris. Along with the designation, the Crown is seeking a sentence of five years, followed by 10 years of supervision. If there were a breach of his conditions during that 10-year period, Harris could then be looking at an indeterminate prison sentence.
Judge Murray Hinds reserved his decision until Nov. 7.