July 18th, 2024

Lenient sentence for woman who sold undercover cops fake meth but is also primary caregiver for ill mother

By Peggy Revell on July 20, 2017.


prevell@medicinehatnews.com
@MHNprevell

“Exceptional circumstances” were cited by a judge for why he chose a lenient sentence Wednesday for a Medicine Hat woman who pled guilty to selling fake meth to undercover police.

“On balance, I have been persuaded, and found that the personal family circumstances as they now exist … bring about an exceptional situation,” said Judge Dietrich Brand, while sentencing Loretta Beauchesne to 90 days, to be served intermittently so she can continue on as the main caregiver of her severely ill mother.

The incident surrounding the drug trafficking charge stems back to July 2015, when police posted an ad up at the online classified site Craigslist, looking for “puddles”—a slang word that refers to illegal drugs like meth and LSD.

The accused responded to the ad, giving police her phone number. A meeting was arranged where she exchanged 0.5 grams of what was ultimately fake meth for $100 cash. The next day, police contacted the accused complaining about the quality of the drugs. The accused said she had received lots of complaints, and a new deal was arranged where she sold them 2.7 grams of this “meth” for $200.

The police operation was characterized by defence counsel Marc Crarer as an “open-ended fishing expedition” and that his client, who has a drug addiction, was savvy and saw it as an opportunity to make money.

“Her true intention was to defraud an individual,” said Crarer, adding that Beauchesne has no history of drug convictions, nor other history of drug trafficking.

While the “meth” really wasn’t meth, the accused’s actions still fall under the controlled substances act, Judge Brand noted during sentencing.

The starting point for a drug trafficking sentence is three years, then adjusted based on mitigating or aggravating factors. Federal Crown argued for a one-year sentence.

But Judge Brand agreed with defence counsel, citing the woman’s vital role in caring for her ill mother and other factors as to why a shorter, intermittent sentence was more suitable.

Brand observed that since the arrest, Beauchesne is “making progress, staying out of trouble with the law, and has made substantial progress on her rehabilitation,” but added in a warning to her that he expects her to continue on this path of recovery and abstain, otherwise she will end up in prison.

The sentence also includes 30 months of probation, and Brand ordered $300 in restitution be paid to police —an uncommon occurrence when it comes to drug trafficking charges where undercover officers purchase drugs.

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