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Surrey fentanyl dealer gets time served, probation

"There is no doubt fentanyl ... is a pox on society," judge says.
Fentanyl is the main reason why overdose deaths have risen so dramatically during the past few years. The cheap, but powerful drug is often added to cocaine and heroin to increase a dealer's profit margin, often without the user's knowledge.

A man caught dealing fentanyl in plain view of Surrey police has been sentenced in Vancouver Provincial Court to 260 days time served and probation as part of a suspended sentence.

Christopher Anton Skender pleaded guilty Dec. 14, 2021 to one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Judge Laura Bakan was clear in denouncing Skender’s behaviour.

“There is no doubt fentanyl ... is a pox on society,” she said. “It is extending its tentacles everywhere.”

Bakan heard that Surrey RCMP members were having lunch outside a police outreach office when they saw Skender hand small baggies to a woman in exchange for cash.

When officers arrested Skender, they found 20 small baggies of fentanyl — about 5.15 grams — and $260.

Defence lawyer Graeme Jose told Bakan that the trafficking was street level and unsophisticated.

He said Skender had “suffered a very long and significant addiction” and was dealing to support his habit.

The judge expressed concerns about Skender’s record that includes crimes of violence and robbery.

Bakan also asked whether she should be putting an alcohol prohibition in her orders.

“I’ve been so busy using drugs I haven’t had time to drink,” Skender said via video link from North Fraser Pretrial Centre.

Jose said his client is on opioid agonist suboxone to tame his addiction while he looks forward to counselling and treatment to leave his active addiction behind.

“He tells me he understands on a personal level he has to deal with his addiction,” Jose said. “He knows it’s a threat to his life.”

The court heard Skender had issues finding housing for his release, a situation resolved when a friend stepped up to offer him accommodation.

Bakan wished Skender luck in getting his life on track but warned he could be back in court if he violated his release conditions.