Two men convicted of possession for the purpose of trafficking in connection with a $26-million cocaine bust in Port Hardy in March 2010 will be sentenced Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court.
Last week, a jury found Scott Pedersen, 39, a commercial diver and former Port Hardy fisherman, and Mexican citizen Vincente Serrano-Hernandez, 38, guilty of transporting 1,001 kilograms of cocaine from Panama to Port Hardy aboard the Huntress.
At a sentencing hearing Monday, Crown prosecutor John Cliffe asked Justice Jennifer Power to impose 20-year prison sentences. Cliffe also asked for forfeiture of the Huntress and the Zodiac boat used to bring 37 duffel bags of cocaine ashore on March 6.
The offence carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, Cliffe said. This case involved planning, deliberation and took several months. It also has an importing aspect which should be considered an aggravating factor, he said.
“This was an unprecedented amount of cocaine to be seized by police in B.C.,” said Cliffe. Evidence at the trial revealed that if sold uncut and in grams, it could be worth $70 million.
The B.C. coast is difficult to patrol. In this case, at a particular moment, a plane flew over, said Cliffe — “The state got lucky and detected the Huntress.”
Pedersen’s defence lawyer, Robert Mulligan, said the range of sentencing for this offence should be much closer to eight years.
There’s no evidence Pedersen was directing the scheme, said Mulligan. “This is a case of a singular evidence of transportation, albeit, a large one.”
The court should resist the temptation to go overboard, he told Power.