(Black Press Media file)

B.C. drug courier gets 5.5 years in prison for delivering $350K in fentanyl, cocaine

Pedro Dwayne Kematch, 35, was sentenced on Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court

  • May. 30, 2019 3:30 p.m.

Kamloops This Week

A Vancouver father of four who began transporting large quantities of fentanyl and cocaine after work dried up in Alberta’s oilsands will spend more than five years in a federal prison.

Pedro Dwayne Kematch, 35, was sentenced on Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops after pleading guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.

Prior to his arrest, court heard, police became aware Kematch was part of a large-scale drug trafficking group transporting fentanyl and cocaine from B.C. to other provinces.

On Feb. 28, 2015, an Acura being driven by Kematch was pulled over for speeding near Kamloops. Inside, police found a backpack and a hidden compartment containing 9,950 fentanyl pills and 487 grams of cocaine — drugs with a potential street value of nearly $350,000.

Federal Crown prosecutor Anthony Varesi said the fentanyl pills had been stamped to look like counterfeit Oxycontin.

“The accused was obviously a trusted member of this organization to be transporting such a large amount,” Varesi said. “The number of fentanyl pills seized is quite alarming. It’s of course now a national health crisis.”

Defence lawyer John Gustafson said Kematch had been supporting his family with his work in Alberta. When his partner went back to school, Gustafson said, Kematch had to find a new job closer to home in the Lower Mainland.

“He very quickly fell into a situation where he was quite desperate,” Gustafson said. “It’s these circumstances that led to him being involved in these events.”

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley stressed the danger posed by fentanyl in handing down his sentence.

“The impact on society that fentanyl has had is well-known,” he said. “In some sense, trafficking in fentanyl is akin to trafficking in a death sentence.”

Dley agreed to a five-and-a-half-year joint submission presented by Varesi and Gustafson.

In addition to the time behind bars, Kematch will also be barred for life from possessing firearms. He was also ordered to submit a sample of his DNA to a national criminal database.

Dley also ordered the modified Acura forfeited to the Crown.

ALSO READ: B.C.’s opioid crisis leads to first stall in Canadian life expectancy in 40 years

ALSO READ: First Nations people in B.C. four times more likely to die of an overdose


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Two pedestrians struck by vehicles in Port Alberni

Fire chief reminds motorists, pedestrians to be cautious

Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns says Scheer’s resignation not surprising

Pressure is on NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, as the lone major party leader remaining in the opposition

Drag racers ask for three-year lease at Alberni Valley Airport to race

AVDRA is pursuing a location for a permanent drag racing facility in Port Alberni

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs acquire veteran forward from QMJHL

Matthew Grouchy set to join the Bulldogs on Friday, Dec. 13

‘Not a decision I came to lightly:’ Scheer to resign as Conservative leader

Decision comes after weeks of Conservative infighting following the October election

‘British Columbians are paying too much’: Eby directs ICBC to delay rate application

Attorney General David Eby calls for delay in order to see how two reforms play out

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Couple who bought $120k banana duct-taped to wall say artwork will be ‘iconic’

Pair compared it to Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans,’ which was initially ‘met with mockery’

Race to replace Andrew Scheer could be a crowded one

Many familiar faces, such as Maxime Bernier, Jason Kenney, Doug Ford and Kevin O’Leary, have said no

UPDATE: University student dies, another injured in car crash in Nanaimo

Students part of Vancouver Island University’s automotive program

Owner surrenders dogs chained up outside among scrap metal, garbage to BC SPCA

Shepherd-breed dogs were living in ‘deplorable conditions.’

B.C. plane crash victim identified; witnesses describe ‘explosion’

He was a flight instructor, charter pilot and owned an airstrip before leaving Alberta

Most Read