A Whistler man who pled guilty to drug possession and trafficking charges after running an illegal cannabis delivery service has been sentenced to probation and fined in a North Vancouver provincial court.
In March, Simon Letellier, 40, pled guilty to one count of cannabis possession and one count of cannabis possession for the purpose of selling it, and earlier this month, was sentenced to a $6,000 fine and two years probation.
Judge J.C. Challenger wrote in her June 9 decision that the offence by Letellier, a father of two who earned approximately $2,000 a month in Whistler doing bathroom renovations, was “motivated solely by greed and the lure of ‘easy money.’”
Letellier told the court he took the opportunity, offered by an acquaintance, to make extra income by managing the inventory of the illicit online delivery service, called CBD Delivery. The distribution scheme involved a website, where purchasers would request their product online, provide an address and pay cash upon delivery.
Letellier denied participating in the delivery of product and was involved in the scheme for four months before being arrested last year.
An investigation by local police found that Letellier had a total of four vehicles registered in his name that were used to deliver cannabis throughout the Sea to Sky. Over the spring of last year, the vehicles and their drivers were under surveillance by police, and when stopped, the vehicles “contained significant amounts of product and cash, along with cell phones,” the court filing read.
Letellier and others were observed operating the vehicles.
The vehicles were also observed frequenting a container in a storage facility. The storage company eventually evicted the leaseholder due to suspicious activity, before further surveillance “led to the belief” that the product had been moved to an Econoline van, according to the ruling. Later, investigators observed the vehicles attending to a motor home registered to Letellier.
On June 6, 2021, Letellier was arrested as he left the motor home. A subsequent search uncovered two small paper bags that appeared to each contain an order of dried cannabis. He was also in possession of two cell phones, $210 in cash, and keys to his motor home.
The product found in the motor home had a total estimated value of $64,333, and included individually packaged dried marijuana, packaged joints, various CBD gummies, oils and cannabis-infused sugar for making edibles. There were also “numerous edibles named as, and packaged to appear to be, popular brands of candy marketed to children,” which is illegal. Two hundred dollars in cash, rolling papers and lighters were also located.
Two of the delivery vehicles were subsequently searched, and a pair of cell phones was located, one of which was receiving email requests for delivery.
With no prior criminal history, Letellier pled guilty early in the process and waived his right to a trial.
“Mr. Letellier says he has been specifically deterred by his arrest, the process of facing charges in court and now a conviction for criminal offences,” the judge wrote. “He knows he will now face limitations on his ability to travel to the United States and potentially other countries. He will be unable to access his boat in Florida or share time there with his children.”
The Crown pushed for a $10,000 fine and a three-year probation term, including 100 hours of community service. Letellier’s counsel submitted that a fine of $3,000 would be appropriate “taking into account his moral culpability and ability to pay” and urged the court to impose an 18-month probationary period.
Ultimately, the judge settled on a fine of $6,000, taking into account that Letellier had already forfeited nearly $10,000 in value relating to the seizure of his vehicle and motor home and was prepared to perform community service. He will be placed on probation for two years and is required to complete 240 hours of community service. Letellier may apply to terminate his probation as soon as his hours are completed and the fine is paid in full.
Factoring into Challenger’s decision was the “need to strongly discourage the ‘black market’” for cannabis, with such distribution schemes undermining “legitimate businesses which must operate as ‘brick and mortar’ retail establishments and amounts to unfair competition for those who invested in obtaining the necessary licenses and permits to operate those retail outlets.”
The court documents also note there were two other illicit cannabis delivery schemes in operation in Whistler at the time Letellier was arrested, which “only serves to demonstrate the great profit potential for such schemes,” Challenger wrote. “This supports the need for the Courts to impose denunciatory and deterrent penalties sufficient to send a strong message condemning such conduct.”