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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Woodjam Ranch in Horsefly winners of BC Cattlemen’s sustainability award

Seelhofs recognized for environmental stewardship values

Firearm ban targets law-abiding citizens: Williams Lake Sportsmen’s Association

“Eighty per cent of firearms that are used in crimes are smuggled into Canada,” Davidson said.

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

Wildfire crews to burn Fox Mountain fuel management woody debris

Burning could begin as early as July 8 and go until as late as Sept. 29

Flooding forces closure of Cedar Point Provincial Park Campground near Likely

It is closed until further notice due to flooding from Quesnel Lake

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

B.C. tent camps persist as hotels, housing bought for homeless

Current estimate 40 camps, homeless counts stalled by COVID-19

Most Read