A Sarnia man currently serving time in Stratford Jail will be staying in the Perth County facility a while longer.
Derrick Pillon, 41, appeared in Sarnia Court by video last month pleading guilty to his part in a February drug raid yielding thousands of dollars in drugs and cash. He’s been in custody since his arrest but a release date is now on the horizon.
Pillon became the focus of a drug investigation by the Sarnia Police Vice Unit at the end of 2020. By Feb. 25 enough evidence had been gathered through surveillance on his Mitton Street South home to justify a search warrant.
Police entered the home that evening and arrested Pillon. Three other people were also arrested including Pillon’s 20 year-old girlfriend who he was under a court order to stay away from.
The raid turned up 15.15 grams crystal meth, 3.95 grams cocaine, 3.79 grams fentanyl, $3,300 cash and various drug paraphernalia including a debt list. The total value of all drugs was $3,384.
Pillon accepted responsiblity for the crystal meth portion of the seizure in court along with a pair of bail breaches.
Defence Lawyer Sarah Donohue says her client is an addict trafficker, dealing drugs to fuel his own habit. Pillon tells her he “straightened out briefly” but then “self-sabotaged himself and put himself back in jail because he was unable to cope with his personal circumstances at that time.”
For his part, Pillon was anything but bitter about the experience. “I’m just thankful to the police for actually arresting me,” he says. “Without being arrested I could have very well died.”
Donohue says Pillon has participated in several rehabilitation programs while locked up despite enduring a lengthy COVID lockdown and even contracting the disease.
“I’ve been shipped around, I haven’t had any visitors, haven’t been able to see any family. So it’s been tough. But things are looking up for me,” says Pillon.
Donohue says Pillon already has a job lined up when he’s released.
COVID credit for the 20 days Pillon spent locked down was the lone dispute in an otherwise joint submission from Donohue and Crown Attorney Brian Higgins. The defence argued time-and-a-half was appropriate while Higgins said a one-to-one ratio was enough.
Justice Deborah Austin sided with the latter argument and added 20 days credit to Pillon’s 206 enhanced days of pre-sentence custody. That leaves 44 days of his 270 day sentence to go.
“I think that, while lenient, it is a jail sentence of some significance that takes into account the nature of the substance, the quantity and the circumstances,” says Austin.
“A judicial pre-trial was held in which some frailties in the case were discussed and factored into the certainty of this resolution which I am prepared to respect," she says.
Higgins says in addition to the triable issues the case falls on the “lower end of trafficking level quantity of methamphetamine.”
Pillon was also handed a 10 year weapons ban and forfeits all items seized including the cash.
Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent