Drug dealer avoids jail

Former Campbell River resident found with a variety of drugs and cash during 2010 raid

A man found with a smorgasbord of illegal drugs and a wad of cash will not be going to jail.

After several months awaiting a judge’s decision, Anthony (Tony) Presidente, 37, was handed a conditional sentence order last Friday in B.C. Supreme Court.

The former Campbell River man had pleaded guilty to two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking – cocaine and ecstasy – and four counts of simple possession.

Presidente was arrested Jan. 26, 2010, following an RCMP raid at his Campbell River residence located in the 500 block of Hilchey Road.

Officers found a variety of illegal and prescription drugs in the house along $8,200 in cash and another $474 in American bills.

The drugs included 35 grams of cocaine, 168 grams of hashish, 125 grams of marijuana, 56 grams of magic mushrooms, 35 hits of LSD, 31 capsules of ecstasy, eight grams of powdered ecstasy, 10 morphine capsules and 10 tabs of dilaudid.

Police also seized “score sheets” which kept track of drug tabs, drug-contaminated digital scales, and a cell phone which had text orders for cocaine.

“He was trafficking cocaine,” defence lawyer Peter Hertzberg told the court last April during the start of the sentencing hearing. “(It was) an opportunistic enterprise sought to supplement his declining income.”

Federal Crown prosecutor Paul Corbett asked Justice Murray Blok to impose a nine-month jail sentence and asked for the forfeiture of cash and guns found at Presidente’s residence.

However, the sentencing hearing was cut short when the judge had to leave to get back to Vancouver.

The hearing finally resumed last Friday when Justice Blok declined to send Presidente to jail and instead imposed the year-long conditional sentence.

That means Presidente can serve the sentence at his home in Cumberland  and continue working at his Courtenay business, Black Rose Tattoo. However, the judge did order the forfeiture of the cash, while allowing Presidente to turn the guns over to another registered owner.

“Mr. Presidente is unlikely to re-offend,” said Hertzberg in April. “He has suffered shame…(and) he’s disrespected his family by his conduct.”

The lawyer added the bust and arrest were a “wake-up call” for Presidente who now realizes the harm drug trafficking can do through addiction, violence and property crime.

“He knew what he was doing was wrong, but he didn’t consider the consequences,” said Hertzberg.

“He’s turned his life completely around…and has accepted responsibility for his conduct.”