(Black Press Media file)

(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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Higher sales of cannabis helped Canadian farmers come out in the green. (Black Press Media File)
Higher cannabis sales grew the income of Canadian farmers

Higher cannabis receipts added $1.7 billion to the revenue of farmers

Island Health has confirmed the first long term care facility outbreak in Greater Victoria at Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich. (Google Maps)
Island Health records first long-term care COVID outbreak in Greater Victoria

Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich confirms one positive staff member

Itty, a Siamese cat, has been missing since a house fire in Victoria’s Fernwood neighbourhood on Friday, Nov. 27. Her owner says she has white fur with blonde and grey markings. (Facebook/ROAM)
Cat goes missing after house fire in Fernwood neighbourhood

‘Itty’ has white fur, blonde and grey markings and blue eyes

An aerial view over Oak Bay. (Black Press Media File Photo)
An aerial view over Oak Bay and the Marina. Oak Bay residents pay the highest taxes on Vancouver Island. Don Denton/Black Press
Oak Bay secondary suites study considers units old and new

Secondary suites draft report due in new year

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Most Read