A B.C. man alleged to have sold fentanyl to two undercover cops was set to be let out of months-long custody after a judge ruled the initial denial of bail was “inappropriate.”
Dylan Friesen was charged with two counts of trafficking fentanyl on March 28, in connection to two alleged incidents in January.
According to a ruling posted Thursday, Friesen allegedly sold 0.1 and .05 grams of fentanyl to three undercover police officer for $40 each, after the first undercover officer was referred to Friesen by a suspected drug trafficker.
Previously, Friesen worked as an underground miner and broke his back in a work-related incident in 2013. He spent six months in the hospital where he received the opioid pain medication, hydromorphone.
Friesen has since struggled with an opiate addiction of his own, the ruling said, and at one point lived in a homeless shelter in Maple Ridge. He has attended three courses relating to substance abuse since his arrest and says he’s avoided drugs.
In asking for bail, Friesen proposed that he post $300 in cash and be released to a recovery centre.
The initial judge acknowledged his addiction, but pointed to the staggering number of people who have died of an illicit drug overdose in B.C., saying “it is basically alleged that you knowingly trafficked in the source of this public health crisis.”
While considering the appeal, B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson said despite the “very real fentanyl crisis in the Lower Mainland,” denying bail because of the type of drug in question is “inappropriate.”
“If that factor alone warranted the detention of an accused, everyone who is alleged to have trafficked in fentanyl would be detained pending trial,” Hinkson wrote.
He ruled Friesen to be released from custody on $600 bail, and ordered him to stay at a recovery centre in Surrey, with a curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. He is also banned from Maple Ridge’s city centre, also known as the “red zone.”
Since the crisis began, critics, such as parents of those who died from overdose, have called for harsher penalties for those caught trafficking fentanyl.