The defence may have to come up with a different courtroom strategy this time around.
An Elliot Lake man — who just last month convinced a Sault Ste. Marie judge that he was only using, not trafficking, the 16.5 grams of fentanyl found in his vehicle — was arrested again this week with an even bigger load of drugs.
This time, the OPP’s East Algoma detachment says the man had 92 grams of fentanyl in his car — nearly six times the previous stash.
The investigation began with a 911 call about a “driver passed out in a parked vehicle,” police said in a news release. It was the same scenario three years ago, when the OPP was dispatched to an Elliot Lake beach for a report of a man asleep in his car. Once there, officers found 16.5 grams of fentanyl and other drug paraphernalia.
At trial, the man insisted on the witness stand that the drugs were for personal use, not to sell. He told the court he was receiving $2,000 a month from the federal government's CERB program, and used $1,500 to buy 20 grams of fentanyl from his long-time dealer in Sudbury.
He bought in bulk, he said, so he didn’t have to make frequent trips to the Nickel City. “I have never trafficked fentanyl,” the man insisted.
In a written decision released Aug. 3, Superior Court Justice Edward Gareau found the man’s explanation “plausible and reasonable.” At the very least, the judge said the evidence leaves “the court in reasonable doubt” about the man’s guilt.
Acquitted of trafficking, the man was found guilty of simple possession and sentenced to a further 44 days in jail.
According to the OPP, it didn’t take long for him to relapse.
On Sept. 20 — mere days after the man was released from jail — police say they found him “passed out again” inside a red car on Lauzon Crescent in Elliot Lake. Along with the fentanyl, the OPP seized $680 in cash.
David Jack (DJ) Willett, 33, is charged with four counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, two counts of failing to comply with probation, and one count of operation while impaired.
He was due to appear at a bail hearing yesterday.
None of the allegations have been tested in court and Willett is considered innocent unless proven guilty.