Connection to drug house obvious enough to convict Chilliwack couple
A 35-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman were convicted on drug trafficking charges in Chilliwack Court Monday in connection with a bust at a Princess Avenue apartment last August.
Travis Schroeder and Samantha Cole were found guilty of two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking and one count of drug possession, but were found not guilty in connection with stolen fire department equipment.
Judge Terence Schultes accepted the “highly persuasive,” if mostly circumstantial, evidence directly linking the two to a drug operation out of an apartment in the 46000-block of Princess Avenue.
In late August last year, Mounties seized methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and 100 pounds of brass couplings and face plates used for fire suppression by the Chilliwack Fire Department.
Lawyers for Schroeder and Cole, Gurpreet Gill and Grant Dickin respectively, had argued the couple’s connection to the drug house was unclear and may provide a reasonable doubt.
Schultes said that when Schroeder was arrested in a vehicle on Aug. 28, he was found with more than $1,000 in cash, 8.72 grams of methamphetamine, digital scales, empty baggies and a smartphone later linked to drug sales.
When the apartment, which had been under surveillance for some time, was searched by police, Cole was found inside with a number of other men, some of whom tried to flee the scene. The apartment was full of drugs, cash and “score sheets,” the log books used by traffickers to record transactions.
Linking both Schroeder and Cole to the apartment was simple enough as the tenancy agreement was in the young woman’s name, there was food in the fridge, two toothbrushes in the bathroom, and Schroeder’s scheduled Aug. 28 court appearance on another matter posted on the bedroom wall.
As for the fire department brass couplings and faceplates stolen from at least 11 local buildings, including the Chilliwack Museum, Schultes did not find beyond a reasonable doubt that Schroeder and Cole knew they were stolen items.
“They may have been taken for drugs,” the judge speculated.
Schultes found the two guilty of the three drug counts but not guilty of possession of stolen property in relation to the fire department metal.
Schroeder remains in custody while Cole is out on bail, and they will be sentenced at a later date.