Crown drops charges after judge rules drugs found in Kamloops were during illegal search

Trafficking charges dropped

Prosecutors have dropped charges against an alleged Kamloops drug dealer after a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled a police search that turned up fentanyl, cocaine and meth violated his rights.

Mark Andrew Desmarais, 48, was charged with three counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking following an overnight traffic stop on West Victoria Street almost two years ago.

Desmarais was driving a motorcycle at about 1:15 a.m. on July 7, 2021, when he was pulled over by a Kamloops RCMP constable.

Court heard Desmarais was arrested for driving while prohibited after providing identification to the Mountie. Following his arrest, the officer searched a backpack Desmarais had been wearing when he was pulled over.

Inside the backpack, police found more than 39 grams of fentanyl, 14.6 grams of cocaine and more than nine grams of methamphetamine. Some of the fentanyl and some of the cocaine were individually packaged.

Defence lawyer Dustin Gagnon argued that the search of the backpack was illegal, saying Mounties had no reason to look inside the bag.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Joel Groves ruled earlier this month that the search violated Desmarais’ Charter rights protecting him from unreasonable search or seizure.

The Crown stayed the charges on Feb. 17 — two days after Groves ruled in Desmarais' favour.

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