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Vernon fentanyl dealer caught with prohibited handgun sentenced to 6 years

Minus time already served in custody, Ravin Dugas will serve another 39 months behind bars
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Ravin Dugas was sentenced Jan. 6, 2023, to six years in jail less time served after he was caught in possession of fentanyl and other illicit drugs, as well as a loaded prohibited handgun on Dec. 4, 2019. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)

A homeless Vernon drug dealer was sentenced to six years in jail minus 33 months of time served for being in possession of a variety of illicit drugs for the purpose of trafficking, as well as a loaded prohibited firearm that he flashed at a passerby on the street.

Ravin Dugas, 29, pleaded guilty in April 2022 after he was arrested on Dec. 4, 2019. On that day, he was walking down a street in “an agitated state,” according to a B.C. Supreme Court sentencing report published Wednesday.

“His behaviour caught the attention of a civilian who had had no prior contact or interactions with Mr. Dugas. They made eye contact and this further agitated Mr. Dugas. Mr. Dugas made some comment to the effect of, ‘what are you looking at?’ and then proceeded to reach into the front pocket of a distinctively coloured hooded sweatshirt he was wearing and pulled out the butt of a handgun,” Justice Briana Hardwick said in the written sentencing report.

Dugas flashed the civilian with the butt of the handgun, the barrel of which remained in the front pocket of his sweatshirt. No violence ensued, but the civilian contacted the RCMP who attended quickly.

Dugas tossed the firearm — a loaded 9mm semiautomatic handgun —in the snow in the parking lot or possibly the storage compound of a Vernon mechanics shop. The handgun was found soon after by the police, and Dugas was arrested.

After the arrest, police searched a satchel he was carrying and found a large cache of illicit drugs, including 59 grams of fentanyl, about 19 grams of cocaine, 42 grams of phenacetin which is commonly used to cut cocaine, 159 tablets of benzodiazepine which is commonly used to cut fentanyl, a digital scale which was contaminated with fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine, a small amount of methamphetamine with a pipe consistent with being for personal use, and a handgun magazine with ammunition that was a match for the handgun used in the incident with the civilian.

The total amount of the fentanyl and cocaine that was seized was between $5,800 and $13,680, depending on how it was trafficked (in bulk or on a street level).

Citing a submitted report, Justice Hardwick wrote that Dugas struggled with addiction issues and is disconnected from most of his family. He had a rough upbringing and was sexually assaulted when he was eight-years-old. Around age 16 he started using crack, heroin and methamphetamines, and started selling drugs at 19 after choosing to move out of his foster parents’ home.

Justice Hardwick noted Dugas has plans to relocate to the Mission area after his release to be closer to his biological father, who has said he will help him find employment.

Hardwick added Dugas has expressed remorse for his conduct resulting in the guilty pleas, which she accepts as genuine.

“One aspect of Mr. Dugas’s address which gave me some pause was his request for a sentence that would allow him to remain outside of a federal penitentiary, as he has been apparently informed by others that controlled substances are more readily available in federal penitentiary, and so he would like to avoid a sentence which places him in such an institution,” Hardwick wrote.

Dugas pleaded guilty to possession of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking and possession of a loaded prohibited or restricted firearm.

“Ultimately, large-scale trafficking in fentanyl is a crime that preys disproportionally on the misery of others — the marginalized and those whose lives are marked by hopelessness and despair. It is a crime motivated by greed and by a callous disregard for the untold grief and suffering it leaves in its wake. Above all, it is a crime that kills — often and indiscriminately,” the judge wrote.

Dugas has been in custody since August 2020. Taking into account the time he’s already served in custody, his sentencing amounts to another 39 months behind bars.

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started at the Morning Star as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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