56-month sentence for mid-level meth dealer

A Melfort man has received a 56-month sentence for running a mid-level drug trafficking operation in Nipawin.

Randy Norman Hamilton was arrested by members of the Nipawin RCMP on June 3, 2019, as a result of an assault complaint.

When he was searched, police found bills of various denominations adding up to over $5,200 in cash.

The following day police searched his apartment, finding 30 one-ounce bags of meth. In all, police found 846 grams.

He was charged with possessing property obtained by crime and possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking.

At the time, he was on statutory release from a two-year jail sentence that had been imposed in Winnipeg in September of 2017.

On Feb. 5 of this year, Hamilton pleaded guilty. He was self-represented at the time — his lawyer had withdrawn from the case on Jan. 28.

Hamilton was “very forthright” during the sentencing hearing, Judge Lloyd Stang wrote, providing “a considerable amount of information” about his involvement in the offences.

He agreed to the circumstances as presented by the prosecutor and agreed to an expert report about drug trafficking presented by the prosecutor.

Hamilton confirmed the bear spray he had been found with during the police search was to give himself some protection while selling drugs.

He clarified, though, that he had never actually used it.

According to the evidence heard at trial, Hamilton had bought a kilogram of meth on May 13 and had planned to sell it around Nipawin by the ounce at a price of $600 per ounce.

During the end of May and the beginning of June, he made several such sales of the meth. At least once, he sold a smaller amount for $200.

He had at least two others working for him and taking his instructions to sell meth.

According to the expert report, a heavy meth user consumes about a gram per day, while average users use much less. Since 846 grams were seized, the court ruled it was enough “to fed the addictions of many users for several months.”

Hamilton told the court that he had bought the kilogram of meth but not yet paid for it.

His plan was to pay for it from the proceeds of his sales.

Stang wrote that had Hamilton succeeded in selling all 35 ounces at the $600 per ounce rate, he would have earned $21,000.

From that, $13,500 would have gone to his supplier, leaving him with $7,500.

Hamilton had not been convicted for drug trafficking before. He said that when he was released in January of 2019, he had planned to move to Nipawin to reconnect with family and get his life back on track.

He found success, doing home renovation work and getting his own apartment.

However, some people he had met during his time in prison contacted him.

They encouraged him to get involved in selling meth in Nipawin.

“Mr. Hamilton’s point was … that he had no pre-existing plans to traffic drugs, but rather it was an opportunity that was presented to him,” Stang wrote.

“Unfortunately, he did not have the fortitude and willpower to say no.”

Hamilton said he was selling drugs, not as a means to feed his own addiction, but to make a profit. He planned to use the money from his drug sales to start a business.

Stang said he believed Hamilton’s testimony, calling him “very open and candid” in his submissions to the court.

Stang noted that while Hamilton hadn’t sold drugs in the past, prior to his previous prison sentence, he had convictions for possessing and producing scheduled substances and for fraud and property crimes to get money to buy meth for his own personal use.

The Crown asked that Hamilton spend five and a half years in prison, with credit for time served on remand at Saskatchewan Penitentiary.

The Crown stressed that Hamilton was operating as a mid-level trafficker and the quantity involved was very large.

Hamilton found the Crown’s position “excessive.”

He said that he planned to serve his sentence and when released, “get back to work.”

He asked that the court not sentence him to more than two years, in addition, to the credit he should receive from pre-sentence custody.

Stang sentenced Hamilton to 56 months, or about four years and seven months, for the drug trafficking charge.

He received a year’s credit for time served, leaving him with 44 months left to serve.

He also received a 12-month sentence for the charge of possession of the proceeds of crime, to be served concurrently.