Whether Jamie Leanne Rogers was a mid-level drug dealer with high-level connections or a low-level dealer selling to feed a heroin addiction was part of the debate at her sentencing hearing in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack Tuesday.
Federal Crown asked for a one-year sentence for Rogers who pleaded guilty in October to one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking and one count of trafficking in a controlled substance.
Rogers asked for three months in jail in the case that dates back more than three years and involves three other accused yet to be sentenced or tried.
In the end of an ongoing covert operation by the RCMP’s Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) starting in 2014 running into 2015, the now 33-year-old Rogers was arrested after twice handing over $3,400 worth of heroin (one ounce) to an accomplice to sell to an undercover RCMP officer.
When arrested, she was found in a house in the 9300-block of Nowell Street with a carbine rifle at her feet, in an apartment with cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, and all the tools used in the drug trade such as working scales and baggies.
Also charged in the case that police at the time said used RCMP resources from across the Lower Mainland, is Bryan Leslie Schapansky, Constantinos “Gus” Anthony and Dina Anthony.
Schapansky has also pleaded guilty but is yet to be sentenced, and the Anthonys are going to trial.
Crown counsel Gill said Rogers has expressed a lack of insight into her behaviour and the impact on the broader community. Gill said a probation officer noted in a report the sheer volume of breaches Rogers has committed, and that the officer “believes Ms. Rogers is seriously entrenched in the criminal sub-culture.”
And while Rogers argues she was an addict and a low-level dealer, Crown suggests she was somewhat higher in the system as it isn’t easy to access to heroin by the ounce.
“It takes some connection with the criminal element to get that,” Gill said.
Defence lawyer Rebecca Gill said Rogers was an addict at the time, along with her boyfriend, prolific offender Richard Parkins, who was with her when she was arrested on April 2, 2015. He is not charged in this offence.
Rebecca Gill argued a three-month sentence was more appropriate followed by 18 months probation, and suggested Rogers was the product of an unfortunate upbringing that included physical and sexual abuse as a very young child.
Gill said that contrary to Crown’s argument that her client was a career criminal, she is a mother trying to reconnect with her children who is on methadone and is tackling her mental health problems.
“Ms. Rogers tells me she is trying to change,” she said.
Rogers is due back in court April 23 to fix a date for Justice Neill Brown to decide on sentence.