A man from the mainland was handed a 36-month probation sentence after selling heroin and fentanyl to an undercover Victoria police officer.
Karan Dewat, who was just 18 years old at the time of the offence, pleaded guilty to trafficking charges in May 2017 and spent a brief time in custody before being released on strict bail conditions.
According to a sentencing report, the Victoria Police Department had been conducting an undercover operation and came across the phone number of a different young person, whose name was not disclosed. They called that person to set up a time and place to meet for the undercover officer to purchase $40 worth of heroin.
When officers arrived, Dewat was in the front passenger seat of the young person’s car. The undercover officer asked if the heroin had any fentanyl in it, to which the young person replied, “We only offer fentanyl if someone asks for it.”
The officer then stated he was interested in accruing fentanyl. At that point Dewat piped up and said there was in fact fentanyl in the heroin the officer had just purchased, they just didn’t like telling people it was in there because “most people did not like fentanyl.” The conversation ended with the pair telling the officer he could call them any time he wanted more drugs.
A year prior to this offence, Dewat was arrested for trafficking cocaine and in December 2017 he received a nine-month probationary sentence.
According to court documents, Dewat lives at home with his parents on the Lower Mainland. He is employed full-time, is in the process of completing his Grade 12 education and has taken a number of advanced courses to advance his career.
As a child, he was a gifted athlete but started to get into trouble with drugs in Grade 8 after not adapting well to a move.
By his mid-teens, he was spending all the money he could get on drugs and by Grade 12 he was expelled from school after drug paraphernalia was found in his locker.
Dewat began associating with gang members and racked up a drug debt of $2,000, which was later escalated by the gang to $13,000, known as ‘interest payments’ which is a standard pattern of gang culture used to conscript young members. Dewat was forced to give his BMW to another gang member as partial satisfaction of the debt and began selling drugs to make up the rest of his debt.
He developed a heavy addiction for Xanax and marijuana.
At the time of his 2017 arrest, he had been assigned by the gang to travel to Victoria to sell drugs to which Dewat stated he had no idea what he was doing or how to undertake this criminal activity effectively.
“He accepts that he knew what he was doing was not right, but also that he was terrified of the gang members who threatened both him and his family if he didn’t continue to sell narcotics and live the gang life,” reads Dewat’s sentence ruling.
Justice McKimm noted aggravating factors of the crime included the fact that Dewat was consciously and deliberately declining to warn his consumers of the risks of his drugs – specifically those involved with fentanyl. McKimm wrote that were Dewat older this would be seen as a complete disregard for human life and demand a significant federal jail sentence.
“I’m satisfied, however, that in the case of Mr. Dewat, this statement was more one of bravado as a result of his complete lack of ability or capacity to understand the seriousness of his criminal offending. I’m supported in this conclusion by the evidence of his profound sense of remorse and regret for his behaviour, not only as a result of the consequences to he and his family, but also that he had caused significant risk to his community,” reads the judgment.
The first 18 months of Dewat’s sentence will be spent under house arrest, only allowing him to leave for employment or schooling and once a day for physical fitness. Dewat must also complete 30 hours of community service work and participate in a restorative justice program.
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