A man who had close to $90,000 worth of drugs stashed away in a Victoria apartment has earned himself a lengthy term behind bars.
Horst Fransico Schirmer, dressed in black pants and a black button-down shirt, made his way to the defendant box in B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday morning with shackles around his wrists and ankles.
Schirmer was sentenced to six years in jail for five counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, along with a firearm prohibition.
As the judge read out his reasoning, Schirmer kept his eyes cast down, citing his criminal history, the nature and quantity of the drugs, along with the length and profitability of the drug operation as aggravating factors.
Schirmer was arrested Feb. 9, 2017, and has been in custody for 694 days, which have been credited at time and a half — totalling 34 months in jail. This time will be applied to his sentence, meaning Schirmer will spend another three years and two months in jail.
Crown counsel Oren Bick had argued Schirmer was a high-level trafficker during a sentencing hearing on June 18, sophisticated enough in his operation to use another person’s home to stash drugs.
Bick said Crown came to that conclusion based on the trial and conviction of Schirmer’s accomplice, John Turner, whose Qu’Appelle Street apartment was used as the stash house and who claimed Schirmer was the “principal” of the operation. Schirmer had been under surveillance by police, who said he was seen at the stash house numerous times, in what they described as behaviour consistent with that of a drug dealer.
Bick told the court that Schirmer was found to be in possession of one of only two keys to a large safe located within the Qu’Appelle residence. Within that safe, police located and seized various drugs including methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA, heroin and heroin mixed with fentanyl, along with several notebooks that contained score-sheets and a white envelope containing $1,000 in cash with the words ‘Attention, attorney trial retainer Donald McKay’ hand written on the outside.
The total value of the drugs seized was between $68,600 to $89,200 and that the score-sheets found in the safe matched photocopies found in Schirmer’s bedroom at his house on Admirals Road in Esquimalt. Bick also stated that police seized 827 grams of a cutting agent from Schirmer’s apartment along with two car jacks that had been modified to press substances.
“There’s a doubt between being a mid-level and high-level trafficker here,” Chris Johnson, Schirmer’s defence lawyer, said on June 18. “And that doubt ought to work in Mr. Schirmer’s favour.”
That doubt did seem to work in Schirmer’s favour, as the judge stated he was a mid-level trafficker.
Schirmer’s “disorganized and transient childhood” which saw him allegedly abandoned in Brazil by his mother and displaced numerous times before arriving in Seattle at the age of 15, where he “started to associate with the wrong people” and became involved in drug use – moving to Victoria the same year, where he’s stayed since — was one of multiple mitigating factors of the case.
The judge added Schirmer’s completion of in-custody programs such as addiction counselling and living without violence was to be commended and was seen as another mitigating factor, along with his expressed remorse.
Schirmer had a chance to address the courtroom on June 18 and said that if he can find schooling and better himself, then he might be able to “turn this around and become something different than what I am right now.”
–With files from Nina Grossman
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