BRITISH COLUMBIA

Four years in prison for B.C. cocaine wholesaler who led 'double life'

03/19/2015 01:14 EDT | Updated 05/19/2015 05:59 EDT
KAMLOOPS, B.C. - A cocaine wholesaler who had $140,000 stuffed into a wall at his home as part of what RCMP called a gang-linked dial-a-dope operation has been handed a four-year prison sentence.

Jean-Claude Auger had a middle-class upbringing and was a well-liked neighbour but he led a “double life" selling large amounts of cocaine to a drug-trafficking ring, said B.C. Supreme Court Justice Hope Hyslop.

“Drugs were bound for the street and he knew this,” Hyslop said. “His motive was greed, with little regard to what this would do to others.”

Auger pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic cocaine and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

When his four-year sentence was read in court, Auger’s girlfriend broke down in tears. He showed little emotion as he was away by a sheriff.

Auger and seven other men were arrested in 2012, and police said they were part of the United Nations gang.

Defence lawyer Chris Thompson argued for house arrest, saying his client made a remarkable effort to change his life.

Auger spent $22,000 on counselling, including a video tell-all project with a local media outlet, complete with confessions available for viewing on the Internet.

Hyslop commended Auger’s actions after his arrest, as well as efforts to re-establish himself as a personal trainer and martial-arts instructor.

“Mr. Auger has come a long way in his life and I take that into consideration."

But, she added, a message must be sent about drug dealing at his level.

As part of his sentence, Auger must forfeit his Lexus, which he drove during his drug dealings. He will also be banned from owning firearms for 10 years.

Five couriers in the operation are expected to plead guilty later this year.

The Crown alleges two other men — Richard Crawford and Steven Currie — owned and managed the operation. Their trial is also scheduled to begin in the coming months.

Charges include operating as part of a criminal organization.(Kamloops This Week)