Man handed conditional sentence for conspiracy to traffic cocaine

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CORNER BROOK - Dale Harold Pye was given a 20-month conditional sentence for conspiracy to traffic cocaine after he was convicted in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador here Thursday.

Pye, who was also given two years' probation to be served following the house arrest, was one of several western Newfoundlanders arrested during the Operation Bitten drug sting back in July 2005.

He and three others were supposed to go to trial on conspiracy and trafficking charges earlier this week, but decided against having a joint jury trial and will now appear separately.

In Court Thursday, the 52-year-old from Reidville changed his plea to guilty on the conspiracy charge and a trafficking in cocaine charge was withdrawn by the Crown.

Before sentencing Pye, Justice Alan Seaborn heard from Pye himself in the witness stand. The accused told the judge he began using cocaine around 2002 after experiencing a breakdown in his marriage.

He also told Justice Seaborn, since an arrest for possessing cocaine in 2004 and these later charges, he has kicked the habit and no longer associates with the other people involved in Operation Bitten.

He said he and his wife have since reunited and he spends most of his time with his family.

Pye, who said he has work waiting for him in Alberta, said he has been in hard financial shape since his arrest in July 2005 since he has not been able to work as much as he would like to have because of the outstanding charges against him.

"I'm on the verge of losing just about everything I've got," he told the court.

In a statement of facts submitted to the court, Pye admitted to buying cocaine "by the ounce" on one occasion and being supplied by the same dealer with unknown quantities of the drug on two other occasions between December 2004 and March 2005. It is believed he then sold cocaine to others by the gram.

Crown prosecutor David Mills and Pye's lawyer, Lori Marshall, both asked for a conditional sentence with the Crown seeking between 20 and 22 months and Marshall asking for between 16 and 18 months.

Although Pye's sentence stipulates he must remain in Newfoundland, he was given allowance to change his residence to Alberta so he can work there.

Organizations: Supreme Court

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, CORNER BROOK, Alberta Reidville

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