Running a dial-a-dope operation was old-school compared to what James Fowler was doing.
The 26-year-old former city resident sold magic mushrooms through the Internet and delivered them through the post office until someone tipped off Campbell River Crime Stoppers.
“It’s gone one step further from the dial-a-dope (operations) and brought drugs into any aspect of the community using the Canadian government’s Canada Post resources in order to deliver these drugs. At least that appears to be the suggestion in his text messaging,” said federal Crown prosecutor Paul Corbett during the first part of Fowler’s sentencing hearing in February.
Last Friday, in Campbell River provincial court, Fowler received a one-year jail sentence and was fined $1,500 after pleading guilty to drug and weapons charges.
He was facing 26 charges following an intense police investigation that began two years ago.
In May 2012, Crime Stoppers received an anonymous tip that Fowler was selling drugs, weapons and explosives through the Internet. The tipster also said he was planning to detonate explosives.
“As your honour may understand, those sort of tips tend to catch the RCMP attention,” Corbett told Judge Roderick Sutton.
Mounties were immediately concerned due to Fowler’s past. In 2005, he went to court regarding a matter involving explosives and earlier he had set off “pressure bombs” in a school yard.
During electronic surveillance in June 2012, police tracked Fowler to a secluded area off the Duncan Bay Logging Road. There, on land owned by Timberwest, Fowler was tending to 104 marijuana plants spread out over four gardens.
Finally, on Aug. 2, Mounties executed a search warrant on Fowler’s residence on South Dogwood Street which he shared with a girlfriend and two roommates.
Police found several unsecured rifles and illegal 20-round magazines as well as 240 grams of dried, vacuum-sealed mushrooms. They also seized Fowler’s computer which showed he was dealing drugs through different websites, including his own.
The websites also offered ebooks on subjects like growing marijuana, transporting vacuum-sealed drugs by post, making methamphetamines and how to make explosives.
RCMP also discovered Fowler’s posts:
March 10, “I have 14 ounces I want to get rid of. I’m selling under the username mushroom head for 100 an ounce.”
March 23, “13 ounces sold so far. Two have arrived, a few more in transit…if you would like some, please get your orders in now.”
The search also turned up a video showing Fowler blowing up metal containers in a gravel pit. However, the prosecutor noted, there’s no suggestion that Fowler ever detonated anything in a public area.
Several people also filed letters in support of Fowler who relocated to Edmonton following his arrest.
“The letters seem clear that he has had a marked change in his life,” said Corbett.
In addition to the year in jail and victim fine surcharge, Fowler was ordered to provide a DNA sample to the national police registry.