A homeless woman has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for selling $20 worth of drugs to a Victoria police officer.
According to a judgment posted on Aug. 6, VicPD organized an operation with the aim of intercepting drug trafficking on or around the 900-block of Pandora Avenue, after growing concerns about the issue were expressed by the community service division, which includes officers that patrol the area daily.
Jeannine Frances Kielt, who struggles with a heroin addiction, was seated under a tree with another woman when an officer approached her and bought 0.2 grams of a powdered substance. Keilt handed the substance, which consisted of heroin, fentanyl and caffeine, to the officer.
A pre-sentence report states that the 53-year-old moved to Victoria from Ontario in 1992. She currently lives in a tent with her partner of 14 years and while she is not currently employed, she has held jobs in Victoria.
Keilt was raised by her grandmother as her mother struggled with addiction and her father was not in the picture. She expressed feeling anxiety and stress about being homeless, describing it as “hell” but has not engaged in counselling since 2002.
Her criminal record consists of two dated offences for drug trafficking, which the judge did not treat as an aggravating factor, along with six convictions for theft under $5,000 spanning the years of 2009 to 2016, although she has not served any actual jail time during that period.
Keilt addressed the court, speaking about the struggles of life on the street, her partner’s sleeping disorder and her own concerns about the deadly effects of fentanyl on her community.
The judge considered the fact that the deal involved substances that impose a substantial risk of significant harm or death in the community as a “very aggravating factor.” The judge stated Keilt has had no recent drug offences, and her ongoing struggle with addiction were mitigating factors in the case.
Keilt was sentenced to 18 months of incarceration for a single count of drug trafficking. A lifetime weapons or firearms ban was also imposed during sentencing.