A young Stephenville man, busted for selling drugs out of his van, was fined and given an absolute discharge and suspended sentence for related charges.
Joshua St. Croix, 20, was arrested Feb. 23 when police found 19 bags of marijuana in a parked van and another four grams of marijuana in a jar.
When the RCMP approached the van, which had a number of people inside, it drove away. St. Croix said he owned the jar and the drugs within it.
Six months later, he was arrested again after police smelled marijuana during a traffic stop in which he was the driver.
A search of the vehicle and St. Croix uncovered 293 grams of marijuana, a half-gram of cocaine, $2,000 in cash along with scales and a pipe.
He told police the drugs came from British Columbia, and he was selling them out of his vehicle. He claimed he was selling it for a “friend” who in turn provided him with free marijuana, but no monetary compensation.
A pre-sentence report identified St. Croix as a “low-risk to become involved in further criminal activities” and a “suitable candidate for community supervision.”
Crown attorney David Mills had requested a period of between six and nine months in jail and a year of probation.
St. Croix’s lawyer Fred Stagg sought a fine or, alternatively, a suspended sentence.
Provincial court Judge Wayne Gorman stated in his written submission that the difficulty with imposing a fine in trafficking offences is “it turns the imposition of sentence into one of the costs of doing business.”
The judge recognizes St. Croix was in the drug business for personal gain, but has no prior convictions, a full-time job and realistic prospects for rehabilitation.
He imposed an absolute discharge for the possession of marijuana offence, a $2,000 fine for possession of cocaine, and a suspended sentence with a year of probation for possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.
Gorman recognized the sentence is at the very low end of the range for a trafficking offence, but said sentencing is an individualized process.
As part of the probation, St. Croix must refrain from possessing illegal drugs, perform 20 hours of community service and make a $500 donation to a food bank.