Colin Martin was handed a two-year prison sentence last Friday on charges of production of a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking.
The Malakwa man was sentenced Friday, Nov. 7 in Vancouver Supreme Court, after pleading guilty to the charges in March.
In addition to the jail time, Martin was given one year probation and a lifetime ban on possessing firearms.
Crown counsel had argued for a five-year prison sentence, excluding time served (including jail time related to his May 2014 arrest on an extradition warrant).
The two-year sentence stems from a July 6, 2010 police raid on two adjacent properties on Northway Road in Malakwa.
Beneath a warehouse on one of the properties, officers found a bunker containing approximately 3,000 marijuana plants.
Court documents state Martin’s fingerprints were found on light shrouds in the bunker. The bunker was concealed beneath a hydraulic door upon which sat “a number of electrical generators.”
In a residence on the adjacent property where Martin resided, police found baggies of marijuana, as well as documents and emails arranging for the bunker’s construction, a Health Canada application for a licence to produce marijuana prepared in Martin’s name, and negotiations for the sale of the property with the warehouse by Martin to a numbered company.
“In an email correspondence… Colin Martin wrote that while the former registered owner ‘may be the owner on paper,’ Colin Martin was the owner ‘in reality,’” states one BC Supreme Court document.
In May, the B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops committed Martin for extradition to Seattle where he faces charges of conspiracy to traffic marijuana, cocaine and MDMA (ecstasy).
The charges relate to a cross-border drug smuggling operation. U.S. authorities allege Martin would hire people in B.C. to load the helicopters with as much as $5-million worth of marijuana or MDMA, then pay pilots to fly the choppers to pre-determined locations across the U.S.-Canada border.
The haul of B.C. bud or pills would allegedly be unloaded by a ground crew in the U.S., and cocaine, firearms and money would be loaded into the helicopter for transport back to Canada.
Martin is appealing the extradition order, and it is expected he will serve his two-year sentence prior to being sent stateside, if and when he is.
In 2006, Martin was sentenced to serve two-and-a-half years behind bars after being convicted of Canadian charges stemming from another cross-border drug-smuggling ring.
-With files from Kamloops This Week