(THUNDER BAY, ON) – Thunder Bay’s bail court was busy this morning after police made at least three arrests involving a drug trafficking investigation. Three Greater Toronto Area (GTA) males were arrested and held for bail court this morning.
Her Worship, Justice of the Peace Zelda Kitchekeesic was presiding along with Federal Crown Attorney Ron Poirier, Defence lawyers Richard Garrett, Gil Labine and a duty counsel representative.
First up is 28-year-old southern Ontario resident Emmanuel Kuffour appearing by video from the Thunder Bay Police Service station. He was represented by Richard Garrett and arrested and charged with the following numerous charges:
- Possession for the purpose of trafficking x3
- Proceeds of crime over $5000
His co-accused 28-year-old southern Ontario resident Randy Owusu, who was represented by Gil Labine and appeared by video from the Thunder Bay Police Service station, was also arrested and charged with the same charges. He was also charged with:
- Possession of a drivers license that was not his
- Fraudulent impersonation to commit criminal offences
Kuffour was denied bail today and has another court appearance scheduled for tomorrow where it is expected he will set a date for a bail hearing. Owusu was also held in custody and denied bail today, his next court date is December 20th, 2018.
Sources have indicated that there were around 160 grams of fentanyl seized during this arrest. Other drugs were also taken off the street that these two were alleged to have been trafficking to the population of Thunder Bay. Fentanyl is killing people at an alarming rate through drug overdoses. Drug users and their families are deeply impacted by the sudden rise of fentanyl overdoses across the nation.
Many other jurisdictions have been trying to tie fatal overdoses to fentanyl traffickers that get arrested and slam them with manslaughter charges. The court system is said to be working towards stiffening bail hearings regarding alleged fentanyl traffickers. Sources have indicated that future alleged fentanyl traffickers will have a harder time being released.
Third up is 27-year-old Ryan Thompson, also an alleged resident of southern Ontario. Thompson is represented by Gil Labine and is charged with:
- Unlawfully in a dwelling house with intent to commit an indictable offence
- Failure to comply with bail conditions (not to possess any illicit drugs or substances)
- Breach of probation x2 (not to possess any illicit drugs or subtances)
- Possession of a controlled substance (cocaine)
The Crown tells the courts that Thompson was already released on bail as he sorts out existing drug trafficking charges, and now he has a new drug possession charge. This incident unfolded at the 288 Windsor Street complex. Crown Attorney Ron Poirier is not consenting to the release of Thompson, and has stated he intends to show cause as to why he should be detained.
Sources indicate that Thompson has a criminal record surrounding drug trafficking-related offenses.
Duty counsel attempts to set a bail hearing for Thompson on the direction of defense counsel Labine, but Thompson speaks up and says he does not want a bail hearing. Gil Labine has not been in the courtroom for the proceeding up until this point. A request is put forward for Thompson’s matter to be remanded until tomorrow to be spoken to, duty counsel tells Thompson to contact his lawyer.
Labine enters the courtroom just as this is unfolding, and asks to speak with his client in private. After a brief discussion, Labine re-enters the courtroom after speaking to his client in the privacy room and asks for Thompson to be scheduled to enter a plea on Monday.
Justice of the Peace Zelda Kitchekeesic orders Thompson to remain in custody until at least his Monday court date. He is escorted back into the jail cells at the Thunder Bay Police Service station where he will wait to be transported to the Thunder Bay District Jail.