Criminal Law – Controlled Drugs and Substances Act – Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking
The two accused were jointly charged with unlawfully possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking in cocaine and having proceeds of crime. The accused Aden was separately charged with an alleged incident of trafficking in cocaine. The police had received a tip that two males were dealing cocaine from a motel in Saskatoon and as a result a surveillance operation was begun. A number of different police officers were watching different sites and testified at trial regarding their respective observations. One officer witnessed the accused Riverson going into a nearby Money Mart and leaving with an envelope. He went to the motel and entered a room, which was later subjected to search under warrant. Another officer saw the accused Aden walking towards the motel. He stopped and picked up a red object from the ground. He then walked to a location described as a woodpile near the motel and there he bent down and placed something under the woodpile. He was seen by another officer entering the motel and the room. Later he was seen by another officer going into a stairwell where he met another male briefly and it appeared as if something was handed over. He was then arrested. Another officer immediately knocked on the motel room door and they noticed that there was a small scale on the table. He left to get a search warrant. The police found $1,750 in cash, including 79 $20 bills, the scale and a sales receipt from its recent purchase, receipts from Western Union for money transfers obtained at the Money Mart, a cell phone with the same number as the cell phone found on Aden and numerous other items. The phone records indicated text messages were sent and received from the motel room. There was nothing found in the room that proved that Aden had been in it nor was there any evidence that the two accused had been in each other’s company. The officer who had witnessed the accused put something under the woodpile investigated and found the red object, which was a chip bag. Inside the bag was another package containing 70 grams of crack cocaine. Expert opinion evidence was adduced regarding the methods used in packaging, distribution and pricing of crack cocaine, the observable signs of usage patterns in the province and the language and paraphernalia and proceeds of crime connected to the possession and use of cocaine.
HELD: The court found the accused guilty of the joint charges. After weighing all the evidence, the court found that the accused Aden was in personal possession of the cocaine at the woodpile. There was evidence connecting each of the accused to the motel room and, with that, knowledge of its contents. There was a joint operation in which was in possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. The court inferred from the evidence that the accused were conducting a drug trafficking operation that the money located in the room was the proceeds of crime. The individual charge of trafficking against Aden was dismissed.