It started with pizza delivery. (Pixabay photo)

It started with pizza delivery. (Pixabay photo)

Dial-a-dope drug bust in Ucluelet

Pizza delivery to undercover cops leads to convictions

A pizza delivery order has resulted in drug trafficking convictions for two Ucluelet men.

In 2019, undercover drug trafficking officers called Ucluelet’s Harbour Pizza Factory (which closed permanently in Nov. 2020) and placed an order. When the delivery guy, Reginald David, arrived with their pizza, they asked him if they could buy drugs, according to statements read in Ucluelet Provincial Court.

“We’re looking for blow,” the undercover officers said. David gave them his phone number so they could text.

A couple weeks later on Sept. 19, 2019, David arranged with the undercover cops to meet at Ucluelet’s Big Beach to buy cocaine. At about 2:30 a.m. a Black Cadillac Escalade pulled up and Dylan Bower got out and gave a single gram baggie or $100 worth of cocaine to David who in turn gave the baggie to the undercover officers. A similar exchange of $100 worth of cocaine took place the following night on Sept. 20, 2019.

On June 6, David appeared in Ucluelet’s George Fraser Room for his sentencing with his mother by his side. Judge Alexander Wolf handed him a ‘rehabilitative sentence’ of 12 months of house arrest for his role as the middleman in the pizza delivery dial-a-dope operation.

Judge Wolf also encouraged David to finish his Grade 12 and to contribute 40-hours community service as directed by the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Justice Committee.

“The reason Mr. David received a conditional sentence was that the role he played was much less significant in the trafficking of the substance. That being said the trafficking probably would not have taken place if Mr. David had not make contact with the undercover officer and then acted as a liaison between the purchaser and Mr. Bower being the seller,” Judge Wolf said.

On Aug. 8, Bower, 26, appeared in Ucluelet court clad in a red jail uniform with a police escort. He had travelled from a cross-Island pre-sentencing facility that same morning. Judge Wolf sentenced him to seven months jail time (210 days) for two counts of trafficking cocaine and his role in the dial-a-dope operation.

Bower’s sentence was reduced to 130 days in jail due to the time he had already spent in pre-sentencing custody. This is Bower’s first criminal conviction.

“I’m disappointed that (Bower) doesn’t have any family supports here because they live in town, but I know it’s complicated,” Judge Wolf expressed during Aug. 8 court.

According to defence attorney Cheyne Hudson, Bower and his father are co-accused in a future trial. Hudson told Judge Wolf that Bower’s potentially engaged in the dial-a-dope operation to “fuel his own misfortunate addictions.”

“Bower started from a young age of 15-years-old using marijuana and at 18 he was doing heroin. He started using oxycontin and it went downhill from there,” Hudson said.

Hudson went on to tell Judge Wolf that Bower wants to “get a job and have a normal life.”

“(Bower) was using about 1.75 grams of heroin a day, which is 17 points of heroin, which is a fairly significant addiction. It costs between $300 to $400 a day and essentially took over his life,” said Hudson.

In his Aug. 8 ruling, Judge Wolf said the range for first-time offenders involved in dial-a-dope operations is no less than six months to 18 months served.

“Essentially, dial-a-dope operations make access to narcotics more readily available. Message is, if you are a dial-a-doper, you are going to jail. The question is how long,” said Wolf.

He said there were mitigating factors for Bower being that he is a first-time offender, has addiction issues, and self-identifies as being Cree. Before sentencing Bower to seven months in jail, Wolf raised the topic of the 1999 Gladue case from the Supreme Court of Canada that requires judges to consider systemic issues from Indigenous offenders.

“One of the reasons that we have so many Indigenous people in jail is that traditionally or historically speaking judges have not cast their mind to the idea that the circumstances of the Indigenous offenders are different to the circumstances of non-Indigenous offenders.

“For example, there are systemic issues that flow from residential schools that have created dislocation from family, higher addictions, suicide rates, unemployment rates, these are all issues that I can take into consideration,” said Judge Wolf.

RELATED: Seven Ucluelet residents face drug, weapons charges after year-long operation


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