Drug Trafficking and Importation
Whether you were driving across the border in your own vehicle and had a small amount of drugs in the vehicle, or were stopped carrying a large quantity of narcotics, Andre, Peter, Sadaf & Mike will give your case the attention it deserves. Every importation case is time sensitive and fact specific, call now for help.
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What is Drug Importation?
In the legal sense “importing” does not have any meaning beyond it ordinary use. Importing illegal drugs simply implies bringing them from outside the country into Canada. Under Canadian law, an accused may be charged without directly handling the drugs, the Crown only requires proof that the person caused the drugs to be brought in the country.
It is a criminal offence in Canada to import any type of narcotic including cocaine, marijuana, heroin, GHB, ecstasy or other drug prohibited by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. In Alberta, most drug importing charges arise out of crimes alleged to have been committed at Calgary International Airport and are prosecuted at the Calgary Courthouse.
What Does the Crown have to Prove to Substantiate an Importing Charge?
The Crown must prove that the accused knew that the substance being brought into the country was a controlled drug or substance. If a person unknowingly brought drugs into the country, they are not guilty of the offense.
As is any drug case, the Crown must prove that the substance in question is an illegal substance as defined by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Usually the prosecution will request an analyst from Health Canada to test the narcotic. Sometimes the Crown Attorney is unable to tender the proper drug certificate, resulting in an acquittal.
What is the Penalty for Importation?
Mandatory Minimum Penalties (MMP) exist for importing certain qualities of either Schedule I or Schedule II substances. These MMPs increase in the presence of aggravating factors, such as working for the benefit if a criminal organization or through the abuse of an a position of authority (e.g. the accused is a Customs Agent).
The maximum penalty for importing a drug proscribed under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act can range from 10 years to life in a federal prison. As with in other drug cases, the weight and type of the drug plays a prominent role in sentencing.
How we Defend You Against an Importation Charge
In some special circumstances, it may be shown that the importation was done out of legal necessity. For example, if your vessel was at sea and external conditions- such as weather or mechanical failure- forced you to land in Canada, it may be argued that the defence was one of necessity.
The Controlled Drug and Substances Act also allows a court to delay sentencing while an addicted offender either participates in a drug treatment court program approved by the Attorney General, or attends a treatment program approved by the province under the supervision of the court as outlined in s.720(2) of the Criminal Code. If the person successfully completes the treatment program, the court is not required to impose the mandatory minimum for the offence.
In other rare instances, the accused may be acquitted of importing drugs into Canada if it can be demonstrated that police manufactured the offence and the presented and pressured the person into acting. If the police have actively instigated and encouraged an accused into an importation scheme, the defense of entrapment can be used and acquittal, why rare, is possible.
Regardless of the defence tactic that Andre Ouellette, Mike C. Gilchrist, Peter Hoare & Sadaf Raja choose to employ, importation is a serious charge and you are potentially facing years in jail. Call Ouellette Hoare Claxton An Association of Independent Law Practices now, we are here to defend you.