HARBOUR GRACE, NL — A young man from Carbonear arrested earlier this year and charged for trafficking cocaine and marijuana was sentenced in a Harbour Grace courtroom Tuesday morning, May 22.
Austin Keels, 19, was sentenced to just over eight months in prison — 252 days in total — after pleading guilty to two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking. Thirty days linked to that sentence stemmed from a violation of his release conditions.
Keels, who has abused cocaine since the age of 15 according to statements made by lawyers in court Tuesday, was arrested Jan. 8, 2018 along with Mateo Brewer. Brewer, 20, was sentenced to three years in prison earlier this month. Brewer also pled guilty to some weapons-related charges, including one for possessing a sawed-off shotgun.
According to the agreed statement of facts, Keels told police he had no knowledge of the weapons being in the house he shared with Brewer and others on Long’s Hill in Carbonear. Brewer said the same in a separate statement to police. Federal Crown prosecutor Donald Singleton told the court Keels was involved in the drug trade to a lesser extent than Brewer. These were also Keels’ first criminal convictions.
In all, officers with the Harbour Grace detachment seized 108.5 grams of cocaine, 20.1 grams of crack cocaine, 340 grams of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, $580 in cash and two shotguns.
Crown prosecutors and the defence made a joint submission on sentencing, which was subsequently endorsed, of 13 months. Taking into account time-and-a-half credit for 95 days in custody, that reduced the overall sentence to 252 days.
Upon his release, Keels faces one year of probation. Judge William English also enforced a discretionary DNA order. Keels is also the subject of a mandatory 10-year firearms prohibition and has a year to pay $600 in victim fine surcharges.