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Thursday, 06 September 2012 12:03

Man sentenced in Swift Current for his role in cross-border drug trafficking

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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A 51-year-old man from Coldstream, B.C., was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his involvement in a cross-border drug trafficking operation that resulted in numerous arrests in October 2011 after an extensive drug investigation by law enforcement agencies in Canada and the U.S.

William Bruce Larsen pleaded guilty to four charges of unlawful possession of cocaine and ecstasy for purposed of drug trafficking, unlawfully importing cocaine into Canada and unlawfully exporting ecstasy to the U.S.
After hearing detailed arguments from the Crown and defence during a sentencing hearing on Aug. 16, 2012, Justice T.J. Keene delivered his sentencing decision at the Court of Queen's Bench in Swift Current on Sept. 6, 2012. He started proceedings by directly addressing the accused.
“It doesn't give me any real pleasure in sentencing a 51-year-old man,” he said. “The events and your actions that have led you to this point in your life has profoundly, negatively affected your life and I suspect they have deeply hurt your wife and your children.”
Larsen was recruited by a person referred to as B.P. to become a driver for the cross-border drug operation. B.P. is a British Columbia resident with connections to the drug world. He set up a delivery system to import large quantities of cocaine from the U.S. into Canada.
A U.S. driver transported the drugs clandestinely across the Montana/Saskatchewan border near Val Marie, from where a Canadian driver travelled with the drugs to British Columbia.
Larsen was involved with the transport of seven loads between February and October 2011. He personally picked up 611 kilograms of cocaine over six trips from southwest Saskatchewan to British Columbia. He arranged for the pick up of 30 kilograms of cocaine by another driver, called R.L., and Larsen also delivered one load of 95,000 ecstasy pills for distribution to the U.S.
The estimated value of the seven loads of cocaine ranged from $25 million wholesale to $77 million retail and the ecstasy pills were valued at around $1.9 million.
Justice Keene said Larsen's role went beyond simply transporting the drugs, as he helped to modify two vehicles to conceal the drugs. He also recruited and helped to train a substitute driver.
But Justice Keene did not agree with the Crown's submission that Larsen was more than a mere helper and that he should therefore receive a sentence of 18 years.
“Sentencing principles and the cases that I have referred to indicate that Mr. Larsen's involvement should result in a sentence of 12 years in total,” Justice Keene noted in his written decision.
He sentenced Larsen to a prison term of 12 years before credit for time served on the first charge of unlawfully importing cocaine into Canada. On the second charge of unlawfully possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking the sentence is 12 years in prison, to be served concurrent to the sentence on the first count.
On the third count of unlawfully exporting ecstasy the sentence is three years in prison, to be served concurrent to the sentence on the first count. On the fourth count of unlawful possession of ecstasy for the purposes of trafficking, Justice Keene sentenced Larsen to three years in jail, to be served concurrent to the sentence on the first count.
As a result of spending the past 11 months in custody and the credit received for one to one time, Larsen's effective sentence is a prison term of 11 years and one month.

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