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'We want the message out there — if you’re dealing in fentanyl, you’re doing federal time,' crown attorney tells Harbour Grace court

Randy Stevenson entering Harbour Grace provincial court in 2015.
Randy Stevenson entering Harbour Grace provincial court in 2015. - File photos

Randy Stevenson sentenced; charges against co-accused Desiree Lewis withdrawn

HARBOUR GRACE, N.L. — A decision has been made in Harbour Grace provincial court on a matter dating back to 2015.

Randy Lee Stevenson appeared via video call from Her Majesty’s Penitentiary on Friday afternoon, May 25 to hear the final decision on his matter, which began in October of 2015 when he, alongside Desiree April Lewis, was charged with possession of cocaine and oxycodone.

On Tuesday afternoon, May 22, it was stated that there were pills also seized in this matter, which have since been identified as fentanyl. That same afternoon, federal Crown attorney Anne Fagan noted that charges against Lewis were being withdrawn in anticipation of other convictions. In addition, a draft for a waiver of claim by Lewis regarding the property seized in 2015 has been circulated.

The facts for the charges laid against Stevenson on Oct. 21, 2015 were read aloud by Fagan on Tuesday.

She said the charges came as a result of a search warrant executed on Stevenson’s home in Roaches Line, where Stevenson and Lewis were found, and both were arrested without incident.

The search provided enough evidence to suggest that Stevenson and Lewis were trafficking cocaine and pills, specifically the drugs themselves, scales, and several notebooks detailing sales made and current debts, including names and exact amounts sold. Records of previous drug transactions and names were also found in another notebook found later in the search.

Baggies that tested positive for cocaine residue were also found in a separate room, alongside a bottle of mixed pills, some of which were identified as Percocet, alongside small bags of marijuana.

After samples were sent outside the province for testing, findings from the search that could be properly identified ultimately amounted to two grams of cocaine in two separate bags, 28 oxycodone pills, eight fentanyl tablets, and a fentanyl patch. No charges were laid with respect to the remaining tablets and pills, as well as the bag of marijuana.

Stevenson found himself facing more charges on two separate occasions – in November of 2017, and in January of 2018, resulting in him facing 12 total charges of failing to comply with his recognizance once it came time for Judge William English to make a final decision on the matter.

“We have breaches on a number of different occasions, pretty much for all the same things, like being out past curfew,” said Crown prosecutor Richard Deveau. “It seems to be a disregard for the orders of the court, and just, he’s going to do what he wants to do.”

A joint submission was made by Fagan and defence lawyer Lesley Pike for Stevenson to serve two years plus one week for his offences, with Pike suggesting that any sentencing in relation to the breach charges be served concurrently with this proposal.

“Mr. Stevenson is coming before the court with basically no prior criminal record,” Pike said. “He’s had no involvement with the justice system to date, and I think it’s important to note that at this point there are 16 months of court delay on this file since the trial date was set.”

Pike also noted that Stevenson has been taking part in programming at Her Majesty’s Penitentary, and has been on the methadone program snice October of 2015.

“I think based on the circumstances, a total sentence of two years, plus one week, and then sentence on the breaches concurrently would be appropriate here,” Pike said.

Fagan noted that this would be one of the first fentanyl cases for the province, stating that she did not want to see it undermined by the justice system.

“We want the message out there – if you’re dealing in fentanyl, you’re doing federal time,” she said.

English sentenced Stevenson to a two-year sentence after allocating time already served, along with a DNA order for investigative purposes, a forfeiture order for the items ceased during 2015’s search warrant, and a 10-year weapons order, restricting him from weapons and ammunition for that time period.

“I think totality is important here, as well as recognition of the guilty pleas,” said English. “These pleas are an attempt by Mr. Stevenson to put all these matters behind him, and to move on to make a fresh start. He has a family, and obligations, and in the circumstances, I take that into consideration.”

chris.lewis@cbncompass.ca

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