THUNDER BAY - Two GTA men with lengthy criminal records who were charged with various drug-related offences more than a year and a half ago after an abandoned 911 call led police to a Limbrick Street residence were both sentenced on Thursday.
Michael Miller, 44, of Scarborough and his co-accused Marlon Maragh, 39, were arrested on Jan 29, 2019, after police found both men in the bathroom of a Limbrick Street residence attempting to destroy drugs including cocaine and fentanyl after officers were responding to an abandoned 911 call that came from the housing unit.
Miller pleaded guilty to one count of possession of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking, possession of property obtained by crime exceeding $5,000 and obstructing a police officer by flushing evidence down a toilet. Maragh pleaded guilty to one count of possession of fentanyl.
On Thursday, Aug. 27, federal crown prosecutor Misbah Haque told the court police were responding to a dropped 911 call in late January 2019 to check on the safety of the caller. Officers were informed the call came from a Thunder Bay social housing unit in the Limbrick Street area.
Police knocked and entered the residence after the door was opened by a woman. Upon entry, police found several individuals throughout the house. One officer attended the upstairs area and opened the bathroom door where he saw Miller and Maragh kneeling on the floor near the toilet with a large amount of white powder on the floor and in the toilet.
Several plastic bags were observed in the toilet as well, court heard. The drugs seized included 381.3 grams of cocaine, 16.6 grams of fentanyl and 25 Oxycodone pills. Police also found $135,000 in cash in one of the upstairs bedrooms.
A statement from the tenant of the house told police she was renting out the unit from the city’s social housing program and advised police her place had been taken over by drug dealers the previous year.
The Crown stated this was an aggravating factor in determining an appropriate sentence for both men.
“It took place in Limbrick community housing which is a notable area in Thunder Bay and certainly one where trafficking and consumption of drugs are at a high rate,” Haque said. “We know that members of this particular community to be part of a vulnerable sector of Thunder Bay.”
Court also heard of Miller’s lengthy criminal record which includes a previous manslaughter conviction as well as several drug trafficking convictions.
The quantity of cash seized was also noted as aggravating, Haque said.
“There was $135,000 worth of cash in (Miller’s) bedroom, it points to the high level of operation that Mr. Miller was involved in, it also points to the immense profits that drove this particular trade,” Haque said.
A joint submission was endorsed by a Superior Court Justice for both men.
Miller was sentenced to a total of six years of custody minus the time he has served in pre-disposition custody. He has approximately four years left on his sentence left to serve while his co-accused received a less serious penalty for pleading guilty to one count of simple possession of fentanyl.
Haque explained the reason for this was because Miller took responsibility for the drugs and the fact the money seized was found in Miller’s room.
Maragh has spent 309 days in custody at an enhanced rate. He was sentenced to one day deemed served and also received a two-year probation term. Part of his probation conditions bars him from entering the city of Thunder Bay.
All of the money and drugs seized were ordered to be forfeited to the Crown.
Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source