A drug dealer from Crofton who knew his customers were overdosing has been sentenced to three years in a federal penitentiary.
Taygen Mitchell Edward Butler, 26, was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo on May 11 after being arrested by North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP following a months-long undercover operation in 2018.
Butler sold half ounces of a heroin-fentanyl mix to an undercover RCMP officer three times that spring in Crofton. On one of the occasions he told her she would have to wait while he “cut” his product because it was too potent, and on another occasion he told her he had re-cut his inventory because “some of his buyers had overdosed,” according to the sentencing decision, published this week.
In late June of 2018, Butler arranged to meet the officer a fourth time to sell two ounces, and that was when he and another man were arrested, near the Crofton ferry terminal.
RCMP seized two ounces of heroin-fentanyl mix that was in Butler’s possession, and a search of his home in Crofton yielded another 900 grams of methamphetamine, 400 grams of a fentanyl-caffeine mix, 300 grams of fentanyl-heroin mix, 20 grams of cocaine, a shotgun, brass knuckles, a taser and drug trafficking paraphernalia including three sets of scales, packaging, 13 cell phones and more than 2.5 kilograms of caffeine and mannitol used as cutting agents. An RCMP expert estimated the drugs seized over the course of the operation had a street value of close to $80,000.
Judge Robin Baird, during sentencing, said Butler, who was not an addict himself, “was acting as a pure parasite and a profiteer,” selling potentially lethal drugs to vulnerable people in order to get rich.
“The accused knew that his product, at the very least, was causing extreme health problems in the community, and yet here he was selling the same product … in significant amounts, completely heedless of the consequences, his conscience completely untroubled by the likelihood of casualties,” the judge said. “It is obvious that he did not care who was negatively affected by his business as long as it lined his pockets with easy money.”
Baird added that trafficking larger amounts of fentanyl should be punished more severely than trafficking smaller amounts.
“This substance is responsible for killing people in shocking numbers every year all over B.C., including in the Duncan area, a fact well-known and lamented by all of us who live here,” the judge said.
Baird did note that Butler was only 23 years old at the time of his offences, had no prior criminal record, complied 100 per cent with community supervision since his arrest, and has expressed regret and remorse for negatively impacting his community.
The Crown had sought a sentence of five years and three months, while defence had sought a conditional sentence.