Man discovered with drugs gets four years in prison

A man found with cocaine valued at between $20,000 to $25,000 in a Gasoline Alley hotel room where he was staying in September 2008 was sentenced on Thursday.

A man found with cocaine valued at between $20,000 to $25,000 in a Gasoline Alley hotel room where he was staying in September 2008 was sentenced on Thursday.

James Joseph Sarasin, 37, of Red Deer, pleaded guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of the proceeds of crime in Court of Queen’s Bench in Red Deer. Three other charges against him were withdrawn.

Madame Justice S.M. Bensler sentenced him to four years in prison, giving him a two for one credit for the 21 months he had served in the Calgary and Red Deer remand centres.

It means Sarasin will remain in jail for another six months before being released.

Earlier this year, the federal government stopped allowing convicted criminals to get double credit for time spent in jail prior to sentencing, but most of those charged before the change took place are still being offered the opportunity for double credit if the judge feels it is appropriate.

Red Deer City RCMP became aware of Sarasin after being told he had cocaine and was selling it. Police began surveillance on him at the hotel. When he left, management allowed RCMP officers to enter the room and they found a small amount of cocaine.

Sarasin moved to a different hotel nearby and police continued their surveillance. RCMP officers observed Sarasin get into a vehicle and park near a business in south Red Deer on Sept. 22, 2008.

Sarasin approached a white truck vehicle and made an exchange.

Federal Crown prosecutor John Lee said Sarasin’s vehicle was then stopped by police, who found $1,250 in a bag and after stopping the white truck, they found an ounce of cocaine. Police later found 12 more ounces of cocaine in the room where Sarasin was staying.

Sarasin grew up in Central Alberta and plans to return upon his release.

“I just want to change my life and get on with my life,” Sarasin told the judge.

Sarasin has also been given a lifetime prohibition from possessing firearms and must forfeit drugs and cash that were seized. Justice Bensler also asked that Sarasin submit a DNA sample because of the length of the sentence and the seriousness of the offence.

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