Unhappy that a convicted drug trafficker has been re-arrested for similar crimes while awaiting sentencing, Castlegar city council will re-iterate its concerns about chronic offenders to BC’s attorney general.
This month councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff raised the case of Andrew Cancella, who was arrested last month after police raised a 5th Avenue home and seized what they suspected to be cocaine, meth, psilocybin, and over $78,000 in cash.
Cancella is due to be sentenced in January on two separate trafficking charges. But first he’ll be in court on Tuesday on the new charges.
Heaton-Sherstobitoff said although council has written to the provincial government before, they need to know “that revolving door has to stop.”
Councillor Cherryl MacLeod agreed, noting that the province recently instructed Crown prosecutors to seek to have repeat violent offenders kept in jail pending trial.
“This person may not have physically harmed someone, but what he’s doing and the practices he’s partaking in are harming and killing our residents and kids and families,” she said.
“That’s the point that needs to be made. It’s not just the people who are doing physical harm to people, it’s the dealers chronically doing this. Every time he gets busted he’s right back at it. He’s not getting this figured out and the only way we’re going to be safe as a community is if he’s not here, sadly.”
Councillor Darcy Bell also agreed and said community members are “always asking how this keeps happening.”
“I think there’s a lot of frustration in our community. I think it’s important this gets escalated somehow.”
Councillor Sandy Bojechko said repeat offenders are a strain on the RCMP and public purse generally as they tie up probation officers and others involved in the justice system.
“We need to advocate for our RCMP here,” she said. “Their hands are tied. There’s only so much they can do.”