Man sentenced to prison term for weapons, drug offences

A Red Deer man caught carrying a small arsenal of weapons in his vehicle on Hwy 2 has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison. Ian Russell Hunt, 24, pleaded guilty to 11 charges in Red Deer provincial court on Friday.

A Red Deer man caught carrying a small arsenal of weapons in his vehicle on Hwy 2 has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison.

Ian Russell Hunt, 24, pleaded guilty to 11 charges in Red Deer provincial court on Friday.

He was facing 34 charges in two separate incidents before changing his plea.

In addition to guilty pleas to 10 weapon offences, Hunt pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a narcotic for the purpose of trafficking and a single count of breaching a court order.

Hunt was stopped by RCMP near Olds on Dec. 2, 2008, when they found numerous prohibited weapons, several of which had been stolen from residences and outdoor businesses in Red Deer and other Central Alberta locations. Police also found more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition.

Sawed off shotguns, rifles, handguns and at least one AK 47 assault rifle were discovered, Crown prosecutor Robin Fiander told court.

A search warrant on a residence then located 500 tablets of ecstasy.

Hunt was released on $10,000 cash bail and was arrested and charged about six months later on Sept. 23, 2009.

Police searched a residence in the Clearview subdivision and found 280 grams of crack cocaine, a small amount of powdered cocaine and $1,000 in cash.

Crown prosecutor Robin Fiander said the most serious weapons offence was that of having the prohibited assault weapon with ammunition close by.

She said the starting point for that offence is a minimum of three and a half years in jail.

Federal Crown prosecutor Dave Inglis told Judge Thomas Schollie the starting point for commercial or wholesale drug trafficking is about four years in jail.

However, he said the Alberta Court of Appeal has said it would be unfair to a first-time offender such as Hunt to pile on the sentence up to about eight years in jail.

The prosecutors and defence lawyer Will Willms reached a joint agreement for the five-and-a-half-year sentence, minus four months for pre-trial custody.

Schollie agreed with the reasoning and the arrangement made by three experienced lawyers.

A preliminary hearing set for early next month was avoided, court heard.

Willms said in all likelihood the $10,000 cash bail will be lost and the $1,000 is forfeited to the Crown.

Willms said his client was in his second year of an electrical apprenticeship at Red Deer College.

He said Hunt has gone from a person with no criminal record to one “who will see serious time.”

“He’s prepared to take his lumps. He’s prepared for it,” Willms said.

Willms said Hunt “met some people and they made things look attractive.

“He made poor decisions and is now paying the price.

“There’s no good explanation for his conduct,” Willms said.

wilson@bprda.wpengine.com

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