Business owner who sold three kilos of cocaine to undercover cop sent to prison

Dealer cries on way to jail

A Kamloops-area restaurateur who dealt drugs to pay for his kids’ expensive medications wiped tears from his eyes Tuesday as he was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for selling three kilograms of cocaine to an undercover Mountie.

Shawn Carlisle, 49, pleaded guilty last year to one count each of trafficking cocaine and unlawfully selling cannabis. He was sentenced on Tuesday in Kamloops provincial court.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Carlisle was working at Sunshine Gardens, a hydroponics shop in Valleyview, when it was targeted by police in an undercover sting in February of 2018.

Over a period of months, undercover officers visited the store and spoke with Carlisle, building a relationship with him. They told him they were local cannabis growers.

“In the course of these interactions, [the undercover Mounties] asked Carlisle if he knew of anyone with a few pounds of cannabis for sale,” the agreed statement of facts reads.

“Carlisle said he could supply cannabis.”

Court heard Carlisle sold the officers a pound of dried cannabis bud for $5,600 on April 5, 2018. Two weeks later, he sold them two ounces of cannabis distillate for $1,300. On May 23, 2018, he gave them two ounces of cocaine and two ounces of cannabis distillate in exchange for $4,830.

The sting didn’t stop there. On Oct. 2, 2018, Carlisle sold the Mounties a kilogram of cocaine for $65,000. That deal was hammered out at the Falkland Pub two months earlier.

On Jan. 20, 2019, Carlisle sold the officers one kilogram of cannabis distillate for $14,000.

He also sold two additional kilograms of cocaine to the Mounties — one on May 27, 2019, for $49,500, and another on Nov. 7, 2019, for $50,000.

Defence lawyer John Gustafson described Carlisle as a pillar of his community. He was the owner of Carlisle’s Smoke & Grill Cafe in Falkland, which shuttered permanently last week. He was described as a mentor to his employees.

Gustafson said two of Carlisle’s children have cystic fibrosis and he was motivated in part by his desire to pay for their expensive medication.

Kamloops provincial court Judge Marianne Armstrong was handed a series of letters from Carlisle’s friends and family describing him as someone who helps others.

“You’re a good man, it would appear from these letters,” Armstrong said. “You made a series of bad decisions.”

Armstrong sentenced Carlisle to 2.5 years in federal prison. She also placed him on a 10-year firearms prohibition and ordered he surrender a sample of his DNA to a national criminal database.

She urged Carlisle to turn the sentence into "a teaching moment" for his children and those he mentored.

Wiping tears from his face, Carlisle hugged his wife and his friends in court before he was placed in handcuffs and led away by deputy sheriffs.

Carlisle was charged alongside Zale Coty and Jacob Cavanagh as part of what police described as a years-long investigation of a Kamloops biker gang.

Mounties said the investigation led to a series of search warrants executed in 2019, which resulted in the seizure of more than $330,000 in cash, a significant amount of drugs and Hells Angels support gear, among other items.

The seized cash is now the subject of civil proceedings in B.C. Supreme Court. The province’s civil forfeiture office does not want to see the money return to the club or the individuals from which it was seized.

Coty and Cavanagh are expected to stand trial, though no dates have been set. They are due back in court on March 31.

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