A Nanaimo man who has had 20 friends die of drug overdoses was sentenced for trafficking fentanyl and carfentanil.
Terrance Virus was sentenced to another four and a half years’ imprisonment following a judgment Jan. 26 in B.C. provincial court in Nanaimo.
Virus pleaded guilty Dec. 6 to four counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking. He was arrested Jan. 17, 2021, in the Port Place shopping centre parking lot on an outstanding warrant for possession for the purpose of trafficking. As he was being handcuffed, the arresting officer noticed plastic wrapping sticking out of the suspect’s sleeve, according to court documents.
At that point, Virus “knocked his head on the police car” and indicated that he knew he was in trouble. Subsequent searches of his clothing and bags yielded more than a dozen baggies containing drugs, drug-trafficking and drug-use paraphernalia, and more than $20,000 cash. An RCMP officer told the court that the 250 grams of fentanyl/carfentanil mixes seized would have an approximate street value of $22,000 to $31,000.
Virus, who has more than 50 prior convictions for a variety of offences, testified that he had been holding items for a friend and had an expectation he would receive free drugs in return for the favour.
“It is unfortunate for him that he was caught red-handed with a very large quantity of high-potency drugs,” noted Judge Brian Harvey, in his sentencing judgment.
Virus testified that had been homeless and unemployed since 2016 and at the time of the offences, was addicted to drugs, mostly using heroin and crystal methamphetamine. He said he supported his addiction by breaking into vehicles and stealing from places like liquor stores. The judge said he was “extremely skeptical” that the accused could have afforded his drug habit that way, but accepted the evidence as presented.
Harvey, in his sentencing judgment, noted that the Crown had been unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was the owner of all the drugs in question, but said the accused did know he was holding an “enormous” quantity of drugs.
Virus told the court that he knew the drugs he was holding for his friend would be sold on the streets of Nanaimo. He also testified that he has “lost at least 20 friends to overdose” in Nanaimo.
“[The] accused was keenly aware of the dangers of overdoses and deaths in this city during the particular time of his offending,” noted the judge. “Nevertheless, he was prepared to assist his friend in perpetuating the untold havoc and misery in this community by trafficking to others despite the sobering statistics referred to in the latest B.C. Coroners report.”
The Crown asked for a seven-year sentence, while the defence asked for a sentence of time served. The judge handed down a six-year sentence minus time served, which amounts to about four and a half years, to be served in a federal penitentiary.
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