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

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

The Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Infamous Arrowview Hotel is gone, opening up a new view in Port Alberni

Derelict hotel has had a dubious history in the past few years, from fire to demolition delays

No more ferries will sail from Departure Bay, Mill Bay, Brentwood Bay during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Ferries announces major changes to sailing schedules for 60 days starting Saturday, April 4

Alberni stores lend a hand to Girl Guides by selling cookies

Local store owners come forward to sell cookies when in-person sales halted over COVID-19

City of Port Alberni answers questions about COVID-19

Radio show will feature Mayor Sharie Minions and Dr. Paul Hasselback

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Saanich mayor receives his foster bees through pollinator rental program

‘I feel like I’m an adoptive father,’ Fred Haynes says of his rented mason bee colony

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Most Read