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)

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

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

The City of Penticton is redirecting $150,000 for emergency repair work on Penticton Creek. (Western News File)
Grant delays force Penticton to redirect funds for emergency creek repairs

Council approved redirecting $150K to do repairs before the spring melt

Penticton City Hall. (File photo)
Penticton council ups construction costs

Council approved an interim increase of 25 per cent to all of the city’s development cost charges

A town was constructed on the side of a mountain top in Hedley to extract 7.1 tonnes of gold. (Mascotmine.com photo)
Hedley’s Mascot Mine gets $800,000 lift from COVID relief program

Grant will enable the historic mine to open again for tourists

Pathways Addictions Centre is in jeopardy of closing after Interior Health has pulled all its funding and will be taking over addiction services ‘in house’ as up May 31. (Facebook)
Future of Penticton addictions centre in jeopardy after Interior Health pulls funding

Pathways has been in Penticton for over 20 years and has 10 staff, serving around 1,000 people

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has cleared the Lumby RCMP of any wrongdoing after a missing person was found deceased in December 2020. (IIO photo)
Police watchdog says North Okanagan RCMP played no role in missing person’s death

The body was found by a family member shortly after the RCMP suspended their search

The images are of Bald Eagles feeding.
Photos: Birds of prey

Princeton photographer captures compelling photos of a Bald Eagle breakfast

HOPE Okanagan’s Stay at Home Gala will raise funds to help serve Kelowna and Vernon’s vulnerable. (HOPE Okanagan)
Non-profit hosts virtual gala to support Okanagan’s vulnerable

HOPE Okanagan wants to raise awareness and support for those struggling in the streets

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

An off-duty Vernon Taxi driver got a 24-hour licence suspension, vehicle towed, after failing a standardized field sobriety test around 1:40 a.m. Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (John E Green - Facebook)
Vernon Taxi towed after driver suspected impaired

Off-duty cab towed from McDonald’s drive-thru early Tuesday morning

Kamloops This Week
Cause of Kamloops landfill fire may never be known

Fire investigators are dealing with too much destruction in too large an area

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

Most Read