A man who trafficked fentanyl in Delta, BC, was sentenced to nine months in jail and two years’ probation early last month.
Daniel Chun Chesshire — who was 20 at the time of the incidents that led to his arrest — was involved in three separate transactions of dealing fentanyl-laced cocaine on August 31 and September 1, 2016.
According to Supreme Court of BC documents that were published this morning, a total of six individuals who obtained drugs from Chesshire were all hospitalized and treated for overdoses.
Evidence presented at the trial showed that if it weren’t for “timely medical intervention, some or all of those overdoses would have been fatal.”
According to a report by the BC Coroners Service released earlier this year, “fentanyl or its analogues were detected in approximately 85% of illicit drug toxicity deaths in 2019 and 87% of illicit drug toxicity deaths in 2018.”
According to the BC Court of Appeal, the normal range of sentences for street-level fentanyl transactions should begin at 18 months’ imprisonment with an upper range that may exceed 36 months, making Chesshire’s sentencing of nine months half of the usual sentencing.
Evidence was presented at the trial by Sgt. Eric Boechler of the RCMP, “a qualified expert in drug trafficking,” who testified about the “potential lethal effects of very small amounts of fentanyl when it is mixed with other drugs.”
If fentanyl is not evenly distributed among the smaller packages to which it is added, it could lead to the “hot-spot” phenomenon that can prove to be fatal.
According to court documents, evidence in the form of text messages proved that Chesshire attempted to stop some of the individuals to whom he had sold drugs from taking them once he had learned they contained fentanyl.
Honourable Judge Nathan H. Smith noted that although he agrees evidence suggests Chesshire was attempting to minimize his previous involvement in trafficking, he accepts that he was not a full-time or large-scale drug dealer.
The judge also noted that “increasing incidents of fatal overdoses due to fentanyl are a public health crisis,” but that he believed evidence showed Chesshire had numerous mitigating factors making him unlikely to reoffend.
“Mr. Chesshire’s age, lack of record, genuine remorse, productive life, and strong family and community support are all significant mitigating factors,” said Smith in his judgement.