A man who sold drugs to pay for a ticket to Shambhala in 2010 has received a conditional sentence.

Conditional discharge for Shambhala mushroom seller

A 32-year-old man who sold mushroom capsules to undercover police officers near the Shambhala festival won’t have a criminal record.

A 32-year-old man who sold mushroom capsules to undercover police officers near the Shambhala festival two years ago won’t have a criminal record so long as he complies with conditions that include providing anti-drug education to youth.

A Nelson court heard this week that the man sold $20 worth of magic mushrooms to the officers in an off-site campground on August 2, 2010 to help pay for a ticket to the festival. (It’s unclear if there were any left; the festival sold out that year and each year since.)

Federal prosecutor Rob Brown asked for a three-month conditional sentence, saying general deterrence was a concern and called Shambhala a “feeding ground of drug activity.”

“Drug dealing is rampant [at Shambhala],” he said. “The volume is extraordinary.”

Brown pointed to a fatality at this year’s festival, the first in its 15-year history, which may be linked to drugs and also referred to the disappearance of Owen Rooney, who attended the festival before he went missing from Grand Forks.

Defence lawyer William Westcott, however, noted it was a first offence and said his client had no intention of selling drugs on the festival site. He was arrested a year later while working at a hotel in Victoria, and lost his job as a result. He is now self-employed.

Westcott said he appreciated the seriousness of the offence but asked the judge to impose a conditional discharge, since a criminal record would affect the man’s ability to travel internationally — he is originally from Hungary and has family there.

Brown conceded the man was “not the typical dealer” and the case involved “significantly less” drugs than in similar cases.

Judge Ron Fabbro said he wasn’t satisfied the drug transaction was related to sales on the festival site or to young people who have overdosed or disappeared.

He imposed a conditional discharge including six months probation and 40 hours of community service, part of which will consist of anti-drug education in schools or other settings.

“Because he’s young … it’s in his best interest that a discharge be granted,” Fabbro said. He also told the accused: “The Crown took a very fair position. You may not get these breaks in the future.”

The man was one of more than 20 people charged with various drug trafficking offences following a project dubbed E-Pylorus that targed dealers at the Kaslo Jazz Festival, Nakusp Music Fest, Shambhala, and Grand Forks International baseball tournament.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Nelson joins protests against racism, police brutality

The protest was similar to those being held throughout Canada and the United States

Game on? Nelson sports organizations wait and see

Nelson Baseball Association has already scrapped its season

RCMP: 93% of inspected boats on Kootenay Lake don’t have safety equipment

Weekend inspections found a high number of boats that don’t comply with national regulations

Temporary rail trail detour will allow upgrade to Nelson’s water source

City will be laying a water line between Stanley Street and Mountain Station parking lot

Water quality advisory issued for Nelson

Run-off has created a high level of turbidity in the city’s drinking water

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

189 homes in Grand Forks area given evacuation orders

Homes are in the Nursery, Grand Forks Airport, Gilpin Rd., Johnson Flats and Granby Rd. areas

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Most Read