Chilliwack opium growers will serve sentences in the community

JENNIFER SALTMAN

THE PROVINCE

Two men convicted of growing an opium poppy crop worth tens of thousands of dollars will serve their two-year sentences in the community.

Mandeep Singh Dhaliwal, 26, and Tehal Singh Bath, 33, each pleaded guilty last year to charges of production of a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking. Sentencing took place Wednesday in B.C. Provincial Court in Chilliwack.

The men, who are from Mission and Abbotsford, respectively, were arrested on Aug. 23, 2010 while tending plants in a field on Keith Wilson Road in Chilliwack.

The field was bordered by corn and in the middle were thousands of opium plants. The pods of the plants were to be ground into doda, a powder used predominantly by members of the South Asian community to make tea that provides a high similar to, but far milder than, opiates such as morphine and heroin.

The case was the largest opium bust in Canadian history and involved the first convictions for opium production in Canada.

During sentencing, the size of the crop, the yield and value were at issue.

A witness called by the Crown based his estimates on 600,000 plants producing two to five pods per plant. He said that many plants would produce 1,200 to 3,000 kilograms of doda valued at $1.6 million to $4 million.

Another expert estimated that a field containing approximately 558,000 plants that produced two opium pods each would yield 1,200 kilograms of doda. He said the value would be about $15 million, noting that the price of doda has skyrocketed over the past couple of years because of its scarcity in Canada.

Defence lawyer Ian Donaldson argued that there were fewer plants than police estimated and they would have produced far fewer pods.

Judge Roy Dickey said he does not agree with the estimates provided by the Crown witnesses, finding that the number of acres containing opium plants, the number of pods and the value were exaggerated.

Dickey said approximately five acres of the property contained plants, noting that police may not have taken into account the border of corn and a dirt road when making calculations. Dickey said there were between 120,000 and 240,000 plants — closer to 120,000 — producing one to two pods each. He said that would result in 120 to 240 kilograms of doda.

“The value of this amount of doda is not clear,” Dickey said, however he placed the value between $120,000 and $240,000.

Crown sought a prison sentence of at least two years, while Donaldson asked for a conditional sentence.

Dickey said both men were of previous good character and are relied upon to support their families. He accepted that both men are deeply remorseful for their actions and found that they are unlikely to reoffend. Based on their history and personal circumstances, Dickey said Dhaliwal and Bath do not constitute a danger to the community.

“For both offenders, this offence seems to be out of character,” Dickey said.

Dickey sentenced both men to conditional sentences of two years less a day. They are not allowed to have contact with each other — with some exceptions — during that time, must abide by a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew and must perform 240 hours of community service.

jensaltman@theprovince.com

twitter.com/jensaltman





Featured

British Columbia

Magnitude 6.7 earthquake shakes northern coast of Vancouver Island

KEVEN DREWS AND TERRI THEODORE THE CANADIAN PRESS VANCOUVER — Glass rattled, buildings swayed, but no damage was reported after a magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit off…
Continue Reading »

United States Sikh

Sikh man told to leave his kirpan at home to serve as juror

IANS Washington – A Sikh American is being prevented from doing jury duty in Sutter County in Northern California because of his kirpan, the ceremonial…
Continue Reading »

Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland with client Bhupinder Singh Brar at the CBSA office at the Pacific Highway Border Crossing in Surrey, BC Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Jason Payne/ PNG

‘Technical glitch’ means long-haul trucker can’t take job waiting for him, and must return to India

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Long-haul trucker Bhupinder Singh Brar is in high demand for Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program — yet the Canada Border Services…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

British Columbia

Magnitude 6.7 earthquake shakes northern coast of Vancouver Island

KEVEN DREWS AND TERRI THEODORE THE CANADIAN PRESS VANCOUVER — Glass rattled, buildings swayed, but no damage was reported after a magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit off…
Continue Reading »

Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland with client Bhupinder Singh Brar at the CBSA office at the Pacific Highway Border Crossing in Surrey, BC Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Jason Payne/ PNG

‘Technical glitch’ means long-haul trucker can’t take job waiting for him, and must return to India

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Long-haul trucker Bhupinder Singh Brar is in high demand for Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program — yet the Canada Border Services…
Continue Reading »

Sexual luring online - Cyberbullying

Surrey cricketer and his brother busted by Facebook security for Internet luring

JANE SEYD NORTH SHORE NEWS A Surrey man has been sentenced to house arrest after he was busted by Facebook security for inappropriate sexual chat…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Desi Dad

Single dad smuggles daughter in suitcase from Morocco to Spain (w/video, photos)

CEN AGENCY A Moroccan dad who tried to smuggle his daughter into Spain by hiding her in a suitcase so that she could have a…
Continue Reading »

Mouse deer

World’s smallest deer that’s more like a ‘mouse’ born at a Spain zoo

CEN AGENCY The world’s smallest deer – more like a mouse – with a heritage stretching back millions of years has been born at a…
Continue Reading »

Russian social services have confiscated a two-month-old baby from his mother after she pushed him onto the rail tracks in his pram during a heated row with the boy's father. CEN Agency

Video: Angry mom wants baby back that she shoved onto train tracks (w/gallery)

CEN AGENCY Russian social services have confiscated a two-month-old baby from his mother after she pushed him onto the rail tracks in his pram during…
Continue Reading »

Rape-Gang rape-crime against women

Indians view rape as ‘very big problem’: Poll

MATTHEW PENNINGTON THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON — A new poll shows that Indians view rape as a big problem in their country and think the…
Continue Reading »

Desi-bhoot bangla-China-Asia

Gallery: No one wants these luxury villas in ‘The City of the Dead’

CEN AGENCY These are the luxury homes that no-one wants in a place locals call ‘The City of the Dead’. Over 100 villas here have…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Salman Khan-Jacqueline Fernandez

London bus drives off Warsaw Bridge causing panic, turns out to be a Bollywood shoot (w/video, photos)

CEN AGENCY Polish police received panicked calls after this London double-decker bus drove off a bridge, and plummeted into a river in the Polish capital…
Continue Reading »

Music-Bollywood-desi sex symbol

Priyanka Chopra’s latest single ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ already a hit on iTunes in 24 hours

IANS Mumbai – The going is great for actor-singer Priyanka Chopra. She is out with her third solo single “I can’t make you love me”,…
Continue Reading »

condom-ads-Durex-sex-booty shake

Video: Bollywood actor and Durex brand ambassador Ranveer Singh urges people to try ‘the Rex’

IANS New Delhi – Actor Ranveer Singh, who has done bold scenes in movies like “Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela” and “Band Baaja Baaraat”, is now…
Continue Reading »