Police seized more than 55 kilograms of cocaine, 47 kilograms of methamphetamine, one kilogram of heroin, 15 firearms, $150,000 in cash and a large-capacity magazine from the home of William Milton Barnes. Lawyers made a joint submission for a nine-year jail sentence for the Saanich man, who plead guilty to four of 11 charges against him. (Kat Slepian/Black Press Media)

Judge grants Saanich drug smuggler sentencing delay to sell a boat, repay parents

A Canada-U.S. investigation seized guns, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine

Lawyers made a joint submission for nine years of prison time for a Saanich man who pleaded guilty in a cross-border drug smuggling operation.

William Milton Barnes, 52, plead guilty to four out of the 11 charges against him, laid after a joint Canada-U.S. investigation seized guns and large amounts of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine from his property.

On Friday, Crown and defense council made their submissions for sentencing to Justice Robert Punnett in B.C. Supreme Court. Crown lawyer Dave Hartney said the chance of Barnes re-offending was remote, adding that the nine-year-sentence was “as much of a break for Mr. Barnes as the Crown is able to afford him.”

READ ALSO: Saanich man charged in cross-border drug smuggling operation pleads guilty

Barnes was a master marine technician who started an oceanside business in Victoria in 1999, Hartney said. He was in financial trouble when he was caught smuggling $4 million worth of drugs from the U.S. into the south coast of Vancouver Island.

When they searched his Saanich home, police discovered cash, firearms and even more drugs. In total, police seized more than 55 kilograms of cocaine, 47 kilograms of methamphetamine, one kilogram of heroin, 15 firearms, $150,000 in cash, and a large-capacity magazine. They also seized two high-speed boats.

Barnes wiped tears from his face during Hartney’s submission. His family, including his mother and children, were present in court.

Harney said deterrence is an important factor in sentencing Barnes, calling his crimes “the most high level drug trafficking that occurs in Canada.”

“Mr. Barnes was using his businesses in a sophisticated manner to get the drugs into Canada,” Hartney said, adding deterrence is necessary since the crime is “such an attractive enterprise for people facing financial difficulty.”

Defence lawyer David Milburn said his client had only been acting as a courier and was minimally involved in the drug operation. He said Barnes had already “lost much,” including his business and reputation.

“He’s let his entire family down,” Milburn said. “And he was cooperative and compliant from the outset.”

Barnes submitted an apology through his lawyer, apologizing to authorities, his community, his neighbours, his “business associates on the water,” and his family, particularly his parents and children.

READ ALSO: Case for accused Saanich drug smuggler pushed to Supreme Court of B.C.

“He says he is aware he has let everybody down,” Milburn said. “He recognizes the misery of addiction and the damage that would have been done to the community had the drugs not been apprehended.”

Punnett granted a delay before the sentencing decision after Milburn asked for his client to have some time outside of prison to obtain and sell one of his boats in an effort to pay back his parents – who gave him $250,000 to keep his business afloat.

Barnes will be sentenced near the end of February.

– With files from Katya Slepian and Kendra Crighton.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

cocaine bustcocaine smugglingDrug bustDrugsRCMPSaanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Campbell River RCMP describe violent incident as ‘disturbing event’

Skatepark incident described by RCMP as ‘violence for violence[’s] sake’

North Island area timber supply under review

Review will inform annual cut for the next ten years

Campbell River homelessness groups prepare for winter in a pandemic

Winter presents unique challenges to people experiencing homelessness this year

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read