Police seized more than 55 kilograms of cocaine, 47 kilograms of methamphetamine, one kilogram of heroin, 15 firearms, $150,000 in cash and a large-capacity magazine from the home of William Milton Barnes. Lawyers made a joint submission for a nine-year jail sentence for the Saanich man, who plead guilty to four of 11 charges against him. (Kat Slepian/Black Press Media)

Judge grants Saanich drug smuggler sentencing delay to sell a boat, repay parents

A Canada-U.S. investigation seized guns, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine

Lawyers made a joint submission for nine years of prison time for a Saanich man who pleaded guilty in a cross-border drug smuggling operation.

William Milton Barnes, 52, plead guilty to four out of the 11 charges against him, laid after a joint Canada-U.S. investigation seized guns and large amounts of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine from his property.

On Friday, Crown and defense council made their submissions for sentencing to Justice Robert Punnett in B.C. Supreme Court. Crown lawyer Dave Hartney said the chance of Barnes re-offending was remote, adding that the nine-year-sentence was “as much of a break for Mr. Barnes as the Crown is able to afford him.”

READ ALSO: Saanich man charged in cross-border drug smuggling operation pleads guilty

Barnes was a master marine technician who started an oceanside business in Victoria in 1999, Hartney said. He was in financial trouble when he was caught smuggling $4 million worth of drugs from the U.S. into the south coast of Vancouver Island.

When they searched his Saanich home, police discovered cash, firearms and even more drugs. In total, police seized more than 55 kilograms of cocaine, 47 kilograms of methamphetamine, one kilogram of heroin, 15 firearms, $150,000 in cash, and a large-capacity magazine. They also seized two high-speed boats.

Barnes wiped tears from his face during Hartney’s submission. His family, including his mother and children, were present in court.

Harney said deterrence is an important factor in sentencing Barnes, calling his crimes “the most high level drug trafficking that occurs in Canada.”

“Mr. Barnes was using his businesses in a sophisticated manner to get the drugs into Canada,” Hartney said, adding deterrence is necessary since the crime is “such an attractive enterprise for people facing financial difficulty.”

Defence lawyer David Milburn said his client had only been acting as a courier and was minimally involved in the drug operation. He said Barnes had already “lost much,” including his business and reputation.

“He’s let his entire family down,” Milburn said. “And he was cooperative and compliant from the outset.”

Barnes submitted an apology through his lawyer, apologizing to authorities, his community, his neighbours, his “business associates on the water,” and his family, particularly his parents and children.

READ ALSO: Case for accused Saanich drug smuggler pushed to Supreme Court of B.C.

“He says he is aware he has let everybody down,” Milburn said. “He recognizes the misery of addiction and the damage that would have been done to the community had the drugs not been apprehended.”

Punnett granted a delay before the sentencing decision after Milburn asked for his client to have some time outside of prison to obtain and sell one of his boats in an effort to pay back his parents – who gave him $250,000 to keep his business afloat.

Barnes will be sentenced near the end of February.

– With files from Katya Slepian and Kendra Crighton.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

cocaine bustcocaine smugglingDrug bustDrugsRCMPSaanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Kimberley planning expansion of 4th Ave. pathway

The City of Kimberley will be applying to two separate grants with… Continue reading

Nitros win two over the weekend

Two more wins will see the Dynamiters beat Revelstoke for league title

Dani Strong returns to the Centre 64 stage for solo concert

Hot on the heels of her startling performance as guest entertainer at… Continue reading

Marysville Lions Housing Society proposes expansion of Valleyview Lodge

The society hopes to offer more housing options for independent, low-income seniors

RCMP arrest Kimberley woman after Invermere robbery

RCMP in the Columbia Valley are pleased to share that as a… Continue reading

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

BC Ferries sailings filling up Family Day Monday

More than 20 sailings added between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for long weekend

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

B.C. man released from quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Because Spencer Fehrenbacher has American citizenship, he was evacuated by the U.S.

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Most Read