Jarrod Bacon should be sentenced to an additional 15 to 16 years in prison for being the “operating mind” behind a conspiracy to traffic cocaine, Crown counsel Peter LaPrairie said at Bacon’s sentencing hearing today (Friday) in Vancouver.
LaPrairie, speaking at the B.C. Supreme Court proceedings, also recommended that Bacon be ineligible for parole for 10 years and that his co-accused Wayne Scott – described as the “middle man” in the operation – receive a sentence of 13 to 15 years.
Bacon’s lawyer, Jeffrey Ray, said a more appropriate sentence for his client would be an additional three years and two months in prison, and no time frame should be set on parole eligibility.
Defence submissions for Scott have been adjourned until June 8, when a new date will be set. His lawyer, Jeremy Guild, did not make a sentencing recommendation today.
Justice Austin Cullen has reserved judgment until next Friday, May 4.
Bacon and Scott were each convicted in February, following their trial, of one count of conspiracy to traffic cocaine. They were arrested and charged in November 2009 after an undercover operation by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.
Much of the proceedings today focused on how much weight the judge should focus on the gravity of the offence.
No drugs ever changed hands, and the bulk of the Crown’s case was based on wiretap evidence collected by the agent, a truck driver who was a friend of Scott’s.
The case involved a “reverse sting” in which police created the fake drug-buy situation.
Ray argued the fact that no drugs made it into the community reduced the gravity of the crime and should be considered as a mitigating factor in sentencing.
“There was no potential whatsoever of any of these drugs being distributed in the community … What you’re punishing Mr. Bacon for is taking advantage of an opportunity presented to him by police,” he said.
LaPrairie said Bacon did not know the plan was made up, and he fully intended to proceed with the purchase of 100 kg of cocaine, with plans to distribute and profit from it.
“The fact that it (the drug deal) never came to fruition should not affect sentencing,” he said.
LaPrairie said the judge should consider that Bacon was on parole for weapons charges at the time of the undercover operation and was under “stringent bail conditions.”
He also had eight prior convictions, including illegal possession of a prohibited weapon (brass knuckles) in 2002 and production of a controlled substance in 2006, for which he was given a six-month jail term.
“By his own admission at trial, he is a criminal and an enforcer who wears a bullet-proof vest,” LaPrairie said.
He said Scott was the “go-between” who was well aware of Bacon’s criminal history and allowed his house to serve as a meeting place for discussions about the purchase of the cocaine, which was to be imported across the border from Mexico.
He also made arrangements for the drop-off of the $30,000 that was to be exchanged for the first 10 kg of the drugs, before police called a halt to the operation.
Bacon has been in prison for two years and five months – since his arrest in November 2009.
LaPrairie recommended a sentence of 21 years, but Bacon receives double credit for the time already served (four years and 10 months), leaving additional jail time of 15 to 16 years.
Ray recommended a sentence of eight years, leaving three years and and two months when time served is factored in.
Scott has been out on bail since his arrest.