A Red Deer man with no prior brushes with the law was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison Monday for drug trafficking in a case the judge called a “tragedy.”
“This is very clearly a personal tragedy and a tragedy for your family …” Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Nancy Dilts told Keegan William Robinson, 28.
“You are going to face some difficult choices and difficult times in the next number of months.”
Robinson pleaded guilty last June to one count of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. He and Sylvan Lake’s Levin Gabriel Hill were arrested in July 2018 after a year-long investigation by Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams’ (ALERT) organized crime unit.
Police searched homes in Red Deer and Sylvan Lake and seized five firearms and $250,000 worth of cash and drugs. Weapons included two handguns, two shotguns, an SKS rifle as well as body armour. The drugs included 1.2 kg of cocaine, 2.3 kg of cannabis, 2.3 kg of cannabis resin, cannabis oil and $39,000 in cash.
Robinson was initially charged with 18 offences. Other charges were dropped following his guilty plea.
Justice Dilts said drug trafficking is not a victim-less crime.
“This is not commerce. Drug trafficking is a crisis. It’s a social crisis.”
Crown prosecutor Dennis Hrabcak said Robinson was involved in eight drug transactions involving 15 ounces of cocaine with undercover officers between July and November in 2017.
Robinson was actively involved in the operation, including finding new customers.
“This is wholesale trafficking in cocaine,” said Hrabcak. “He was not a small player in the trafficking operation.”
Robinson was working at a Red Deer car dealership at the time he was dealing drugs on the side, Hrabcak said.
“There was no evidence Mr. Robinson was just feeding a habit. This was purely for financial gain.”
Hrabcak and defence lawyer Will Willms made a joint submission for a four-and-a-half-year sentence, which is the starting point for wholesale drug trafficking sentences.
Willms said Robinson worked on service rigs after graduating high school and had completed two years of engineering at Red Deer College when he ran out of funds. He took a job at a local car dealership and soon worked his way up to management.
Willms said Robinson was getting as little as $50 for each ounce of cocaine sold, calling his involvement an “exercise in incredibly poor judgment.”
Robinson takes responsibility for his actions and when he lost his job at the car dealership, he started up his own oilfield services company, which has been “relatively successful.” Others plan to help run the company while he is in prison, so he can return to the business when he gets out.
He has already made financial arrangements so the mortgage will continue to be paid on the home he shares with his common-law wife.
Willms told the judge Robinson has the ability to become a productive member of society when he gets out of prison.
“I’m somewhat taken aback by his involvement in this particular matter.”
Justice Hill accepted the joint submission and also ordered that a DNA sample be provided to a national database. Robinson is prohibited from owning weapons for 10 years and prohibited weapons for life.
Hill is due to be sentenced on April 30.