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Wednesday, 04 January 2012 15:46

Swift Current judge denies bail to accused in drug case

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By Matthew Liebenberg — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A 51-year-old man from Coldstream, B.C., who is facing various charges as a result of an extensive drug investigation by law enforcement agencies in Canada and the U.S., was denied bail in a Swift Current courtroom.

Judge L.A. Matsalla delivered his lengthy written decision on the release application by William Larson in court on Dec. 23.

“This is a very serious case,” Judge Matsalla said with reference to the charges against Larson that can result in a significant period of incarceration if he is convicted.

Larson is facing charges under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act of importing cocaine, possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, conspiracy to import cocaine and participating in a criminal organization.

Judge Matsalla took 18 pages of notes during the bail hearing submissions by the Crown and defence on Dec. 9 and 16.

The Crown provided detailed information to court about the criminal investigation by the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies which resulted in Larson’s arrest. The defence responded to the Crown’s allegations and presented arguments for Larson’s release under strict conditions.

The information presented at the hearing is subject to a publication ban.

Judge Matsalla described the information presented by the Crown as “cogent” and he concluded Larson’s continued detention was necessary.

In view of the “grave” nature of the alleged offences that involves a “noxious, habit forming” drug, Judge Matsalla said the public would lose confidence in the administration of justice if the accused is released.

He therefore denied the application for bail and ordered Larson to remain in custody until his next court appearance Jan. 20 for election.

Three other men who were arrested as a result of this investigation will also make court appearances on the same date.

Ronald Learning, 28, from Golden, B.C., was previously released on bail after his court appearance in November.

Troy Swanson, 25, from Coldstream, B.C., and Brock Palfrey, 25, from Silverstar, B.C., are both in custody. Swanson was denied bail in October and Palfrey’s bail hearing will commence on Jan. 20.

A fifth man who was arrested in the United States as a result of this investigation is currently in detention.

Gregory German, 27, from Edmonton pled guilty to a charge of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine during a federal court session in Great Falls, Montana, on Nov. 29, 2011.

He has been remanded until his sentencing on March 19.

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