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B.C. man found with fentanyl and nearly $75K gets conditional sentence

Stephen Tosh Maki pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession of fentanyl for the purposes of trafficking.
The Williams Lake court house.

A Langley man has been given a conditional sentence after Williams Lake police seized $74,680 in cash, powdered fentanyl and over 800 fentanyl pills.

Stephen Tosh Maki was charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, namely fentanyl, for the purposes of trafficking, and one count of possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace. 

He pleaded guilty to the first charge.

Justice Marguerite Church’s July 20, 2023 Williams Lake B.C. Supreme Court decision was released April 17.

On Jan. 19, 2023, Const. Linde saw an SUV travelling southbound on Highway 97 and turned his police vehicle around to follow it to check for winter tires. He soon clocked the vehicle doing 142 km/h in a 90 km/h zone.

When the SUV pulled in a brake check area, Linde followed. He saw the male driver leave the vehicle, lean over and vomit, reach over and close the driver's side door, and then continue vomiting.

Linde approached the driver, asked how he was doing and asked to see his driver's licence and vehicle registration. Then, the driver opened the door and reached in to retrieve his wallet.

Linde leaned on the driver's door and observed a large, unsheathed hunting knife and what appeared to be a can of bear spray wrapped in camouflage tape.

When asked who the vehicle belonged to, the driver replied, "a buddy of a buddy.”

Church said the insurance papers showed the vehicle registered to a numbered company based in the Lower Mainland.

Linde waited for other members to arrive and then arrested Maki for possession of a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public peace.

A search of the vehicle revealed a number of other weapons, as well as a plastic bag containing $74,680 in Canadian currency, 42 grams of fentanyl in powder form and 804 fentanyl pills.

Church said Maki has past convictions for possession of a weapon, uttering threats, and possession of a controlled substance, assault and mischief.

The Crown sought a sentence of four and a half years in prison. Defence sought a conditional sentence order of two years less a day and two years’ probation.

“An offender should not be deprived of liberty if a less‑restrictive sanction is appropriate,” Church said.

But, she added, “The offence to which Mr. Maki has pleaded guilty is a serious offence for which his moral culpability is high.”

For the first eight months of the conditional sentence, Maki is under house arrest 24 hours a day with some exceptions. For the second eight months, he is under a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.

“Let me be very clear, Mr. Maki, that a conditional sentence order is a jail sentence, but it is served in the community,” Church said. “If you breach the conditions of this order, there are potentially very serious consequences, including the possibility that your conditional sentence order will terminate and you will serve the rest of the sentence in custody.”