Victoria Police investigators process exhibits in the drug processing room. (Victoria Police)

Sentencing adjourned for second time in first case of carfentanil trafficking in Victoria

Horst Francisco Schirmer is charged with five counts of trafficking

Carrying a copy of Tesla: A Man Out of Time in cuffed hands behind his back, Horst Francisco Schirmer made his way to the defendant box in the Supreme Court of B.C. on Thursday morning.

Schirmer is charged with five counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking. According to Victoria Police, the arrest of Schirmer back in 2017 was the first time carfentanil was confirmed in their jurisdiction.

READ ALSO: Carfentanil, an opioid more toxic than fentanyl, linked to more deaths in B.C.

Carfentanil is used to sedate large animals — such as elephants — and has no medical use for humans. The drug is about 100 times more potent than fentanyl, the main drug behind the opioid crisis here in B.C.

Chris Johnson, representing Schirmer, was retained in April but was involved with a murder trial during that time and asked Justice William Ehrcke for an adjournment into mid July saying he had not had adequate time to review the files of this case and another case Schirmer is involved in. Johnson, who did not have a copy of the pre sentence report, introduced himself to Schirmer as he entered the room.

Justice Ehrcke was not keen on adjourning so far into the future as the case was originally set for sentencing to begin in March. He granted an adjournment until June 18.

Schirmer was taken into custody after a joint investigation involving the West Shore RCMP and VicPD’s Strike Force and Crime Reduction Unit in August of 2017. On Aug. 2, 2017 West Shore RCMP initiated a traffic stop in the 1000-block of Goldstream Avenue at the request of Victoria Police investigators.

READ ALSO: Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

At the time of the arrest a satchel containing drugs was seized. Upon searching the satchel, officers found cash, drug paraphernalia, over half a kilogram of cocaine mixed with fentanyl, methamphetamine mixed with fentanyl, marijuana, brass knuckles — a prohibited weapon — and a small packet containing a powder which resembled heroin mixed with another drug.

Using the negative pressure drug processing room, VicPD processed samples of each substance using a ion scanner — commonly used to screen airline passengers for explosives and drugs — which showed the packet contained “potentially fatal combination of heroin mixed with carfentanil.

At the time of the arrest Schirmer was wanted on arrest warrants for violating two sets of court-ordered conditions which included prohibitions of controlled substances, weapons possession and stipulations for house arrest stemming from an arrest earlier in 2017. The most recent investigation began with information that Schirmer was breaching those conditions and warrants were issued for his arrest.

A full day has been allotted to the sentencing with a decision and reasoning expected to be ready by the afternoon of June 18.

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An Ion Scanner, commonly used to screen airline passengers for explosives and drugs, showed the packet of drugs found on Horst Schirmer ” contained a potentially fatal combination of heroin mixed with carfentanil.” (Victoria Police)

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