A Prince Edward Island man was sentenced Tuesday to 4.5 years in federal prison in connection with a seizure by police of crystal meth, which justice officials are calling the largest seizure of the potent street drug on P.E.I. to date.
Ryan Joseph Gallant, 39, of Summerside was sentenced Tuesday in provincial court in Summerside, where he appeared by video link from provincial jail.
"He was significantly involved in trafficking drugs," said Crown prosecutor Will Cann as he presented the sentencing recommendation, to which Gallant's defence lawyer had agreed.
"This is the largest crystal meth seizure in the province to date," Cann said.
Gallant was arrested Jan. 10 of this year after he and another man drove across the Confederation Bridge from New Brunswick.
'Interprovincial drug trafficking'
Police seized eight ounces of crystal methamphetamine, 2,000 methamphetamine pills, 28 grams of cocaine, and cannabis resin. The drugs were in a backpack belonging to Gallant, court heard.
East Prince RCMP and Summerside police had been investigating Gallant since last fall as part of a joint operation, according to facts of the case presented in court by Cann.
"He was involved at least to some degree in interprovincial drug trafficking," said Cann.
"Crystal meth is one of the most addictive drugs out there … the gravity of the offence is therefore very high."
Co-operated with police after arrest
Gallant pleaded guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking and co-operated with police following his arrest, according to defence lawyer Thane MacEachern.
In a statement to police, Gallant said he had been selling the crystal meth for anywhere from $50 to $200 a gram. Police also seized almost $2,500 in cash from Gallant. He told them that was the proceeds of drug sales.
Gallant had three previous drug convictions, most recently in January 2020.
"He has spent more time in jail than out of jail due to drug trade in last number of years," said MacEachern. "He still has quite a bit of his life ahead of him."
This is one of the worst offences that we see, of harm to a multitude of people. — Judge Krista MacKay
Gallant declined the opportunity to speak in court Tuesday.
In passing sentence, Judge Krista MacKay said too many Islanders are suffering because of highly addictive drugs like crystal meth.
She said she sees a lot of people in court who are suffering from addictions, charged with crimes, trying to come up with the cash they need to buy drugs.
"This is one of the worst offences that we see, of harm to a multitude of people in different areas of society," she said.
"The social cost is astronomical."
MacKay said she has heard that the success rate for treatment of meth is only 20 per cent.
"I don't doubt that is accurate," she said. "I see them before me, we send them for treatment, but it doesn't work.
"We see them over and over again."
The judge ordered Gallant to provide a DNA sample, and issued a lifetime weapons prohibition.
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