Approx 8-10 minute read
This is my story of being charged with drug trafficking for the first time while working in an illegal dispensary.
This happened almost 2 years ago, so I fell comfortable talking about it publicly. I have changed the names of the others involved.
On Sunday the 22nd of Jan, I was settling into a chilled night-shift of management at the dispensary. I started cleaning the windows because there had not been many customers during the afternoon/evening.
As I was cleaning the front windows from the inside, I see two 19-20 year olds burst through the door like something was chasing them. I asked them "what's up", they replied through short breaths "nothing, we're ok".
I go back to cleaning the windows and I see 3 police on bicycles pull up outside the store. As there had been a shooting in the area just a couple of days prior, I was told to co-operate and engage with police if they were wanting surveillance video etc.
I go outside (DUMB IDEA), and ask them, very politely, "hi guys, what can I help you with today?". They reply, "what is going on in there?". "What do you mean?", i responded. I could feel my hands getting sweatier and sweatier.
They said, "two guys ran in here, what is going on? Do you work here? Who is the boss of this store?". Honestly, they aggressively asked me questions like these for 5 minutes, all the while blocking me from going back in and getting the f out of dodge. through the back door.
Since I had cleaning gloves on, I replied: "I'm a part-time cleaner here, I come in for a couple shifts a week, just trying to make a bit of money really".
They finally let me back inside because they could see there were others working there at the time. They told me to tell the others to come outside.
After quickly closing the other staff members behind the green door, the police started knocking on the front door incredibly hard. I let them in and they got 10 times more aggressive with me. 'WHO DO YOU WORK FOR? DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE TRAFFIKING DRUGS?"
The police demanded to see the other staff members behind the locked door. I told them if they entered without permission that I would sue them (empty threat), but they listened and sat down.
I was let into the back area by Paul (not his real name), and I told them (Paul and one other) to have a quick talk to the cops. The cops were incredibly aggressive with them also. The other staff member had already left out the back with some important documents and cash, which was our plan if shit hit the fan.
After the police had finished harassing Paul and the other member of staff, I opened the green door and whispered to get the "F*** out through the back door. Take anything you can take before they come around the other side".
By this point in time, the police had smelt the cannabis in the dispensary and had called for back-up. I came back out, closing the green door behind me. They told me to open it.
I opened the green door and told them the other staff had left. The police then threatened me with arrest for obstruction, as well as disrupting an active police investigation. They now knew there was a back door and one of the officers went around the back, thankfully, the staff had gotten away.
The staff member who left first with the documents and cash, let us call her Shannon, gets a call from the owner of the dispensary who has seen all of this stuff happening on camera. Shannon is holed up in a restaurant that is next door. The owner was super-chill and was a regular customer also, we had a good relationship with the neighbouring businesses. The police had told me I was pretty screwed because of the others running off, I still claimed I was just a cleaner.
Anyway, during this call, the owner tells Shannon to enter back into the dispensary and tell the police to leave! As you can imagine, Shannon was in handcuffs within 20 seconds after being admitted to being an employee of the dispensary itself.
The police searched her bag and found EVERYTHING. Timesheets with everyone's names on them, cash, keys to the back and green doors, and other documents that could tie all of us to this location and activity.
We both asked them if they had a warrant, and if they could leave until they obtained one. They responded with "No, you're lucky you're not going to jail".
BEFORE the warrant had been processed, the police took photographs, emptied the registers, bagged cannabis, and emptied out shelves of dab rigs, bongs, and other stuff. I was a witness to this happening in front of my eyes and I could not believe it.
This had taken close to 2 hours already. I was getting antsy, anxious, and really pissed-off with the police and how I was being treated.
The police made a formal arrest of Shannon, but we were both held inside the dispensary. The police were badgering me for such a long time about my role in the store. I was sticking to my guns about being a cleaner, they had no evidence to the contrary, and in this type of situation, it is better to give the police no information.
Shannon was served with her papers for a court appearance for 2 charges of trafficking a controlled substance under the CDSA (cannabis and concentrates) as well as a charge for possession of proceeds of crime (over 5k). She then left.
After 5 minutes of sitting there watching them rifle through our beloved dispensary like some sort of trap house,I asked if I could leave. The police advised me that I could speak to a lawyer if I chose. I was like "nah, what do I need that for, you're letting me go".
It was at that point I was handed the same court appearance notice with my name and details on it. I was given a summons for the exact same charges as Shannon.
The police explained the charges and what would happen if I did not turn up to court. I was in absolute shock.
I left the store with all of the police still there, I looked back at what was once my beloved work place to see an enemy looting a plundered drug operation.
As I left, I bumped into a regular customer. She had been watching the police activity for over an hour and she knew who I was from our interactions in the store. She was the sweetest girl, who had obviously had some addiciton issues and other stuff going on in her life. After I got a massive hug from her, I felt 100 times better. I haven't seen her again to this day, I hope she is ok.
I then met up with the owner and other management and we watched them destroy the entire store through the security cameras until they found the recording device for that and pulled it out. Here's a couple pics that were screenshotted from the incident.
Fast forward to my court appearance 3 months later and....
ALL CHARGES DROPPED BECAUSE POLICE DID NOT HAVE A WARRANT TO ENTER IN THE BEGINNING!
Thanks to my lawyer Jack Lloyd, this guy is the man.
Honestly, I feel so much better having typed this all out. I started welling up about halfway through because I realized I had not fully re-lived this shi**y incident. Take from this story what you can.
Thank you for reading this if you did. I have one more tale like this and it ended much worse. I will type that up at some point too.