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Moncton man convicted of importing crystal meth

A Moncton, New Brunswick man had 1.8 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine strapped to his body during a return flight to Vancouver International Airport from Mexico City on June 7. - courtesy RCMP
A Moncton, New Brunswick man had 1.8 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine strapped to his body during a return flight to Vancouver International Airport from Mexico City on June 7.
— image credit: courtesy RCMP

In a precedent setting case, a 33-year-old Moncton, New Brunswick man was sentenced Thursday in Richmond provincial court to three-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty to importing a controlled substance.

Drug smuggling is hardly unusual, but in this case, it was the type of drug he tried to smuggle into Canada that was precedent setting.

Joseph Edgar Williams was pulled aside on June 7 by Canada Border Services after arriving at Vancouver International Airport on an Air Canada flight from Mexico City.

He was found carrying 1.81 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, strapped to his body in a belt fashioned around his waist.

Williams was generally cooperative with investigators after being pulled aside, and told agents that he would spare them searching for the contraband when it was readily apparent he had been caught carrying the drugs.

But Williams refused to otherwise help investigators, and didn't implicate anybody else in the drug smuggling operation.

Crown Counsel Oren Bick told the courtroom that the crystal meth was between 95 and 96 per cent purity, and was valued at the wholesale level at about $54,000.

Sold on the street, it might have fetched him $108,000. The wholesale value of the crystal meth in Mexico was about $18,000.

With the Lower Mainland being a hub for the illegal production of crystal meth, it was extremely unusual for somebody to be caught importing the drug into Canada, said Bick, from the public prosecution service of Canada.

In fact, this was a precedent-setting case, with the defence and Crown arriving at an agreed-upon sentence of three-and-a-half years, based on case law involving the importation of cocaine and heroin or the exportation of crystal meth.

Williams has been kept in custody since his arrest, and received 1.5 times credit for time served from Richmond provincial court Judge Patrick Chen, meaning he has three years and 68 days remaining on his sentence. He was also ordered to submit a sample of his DNA to a federal registry, and to pay a victim surcharge of $50.

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