A Yellowknife man who trafficked in furanyl fentanyl has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Darcy Oake, 25, had no criminal record when police arrested him after searching his home in November 2016. As they searched, Oake was in hospital recovering from his second overdose on the drug in three days. Not far away from him in hospital was a young woman who he had supplied the drug to. She was also recovering from an overdose.
In sentencing Oake on Tuesday in N.W.T. Supreme Court, Justice Shannon Smallwood said the courts have come to view importing fentanyl and its derivatives, such as furanyl fentanyl, as more serious than heroin or cocaine.
During Oake’s trial, it came out that he researched how to purchase the drug on the internet with a view to purchasing it for a cheaper price than he could buy it for locally. Smallwood said planning and forethought went into the buy — Oake had to download a special web browser to access the dark web, where he found a supplier. Then he had to purchase bitcoins to pay for it.
“So it wasn’t just a case of ordering from Amazon,” said Smallwood. “I expect few average people would be able to carry out this operation.”
Oake ordered 10 grams of the drug. When it failed to arrive for weeks, the supplier agreed to send a replacement order. The replacement was sent shortly before the original shipment arrived.
The judge sentenced Oake to eight years in prison for importing the drug.
She said to avoid giving him a crushing sentence, he can serve the lesser sentences she gave him for three other convictions at the same time as the sentence for importing the drug.
Those convictions included criminal negligence causing bodily harm for supplying the drug to the friend who overdosed.
“When the package arrived he had no idea what he had received from the supplier,” said Smallwood. “Mr. Oake provided the drug to [the friend] knowing how dangerous it was, having overdosed on it once himself … he was essentially rolling the dice with her life.”
Smallwood noted that Oake was planning to sell the drug for money, but said given his history of addiction, it was likely the money would have been spent on more drugs.
With credit for the time he’s already served in jail, Oake has three years and nine months left on his sentence.
During his sentencing hearing, his lawyer said Oake was hoping to serve his sentence in the North to be closer to his family. Typically N.W.T. offenders with more than two years left on their sentences are sent to federal prisons in Alberta.