Crown wants 18 years for local fentanyl dealer amid public health emergency


RICHMOND (NEWS 1130) – Crown prosecutors want a local fentanyl trafficker to serve 18 years in prison. They argue Walter McCormick has contributed to the public health emergency in BC which has seen a roughly 75 per cent spike in overdoses and hundreds of deaths in the past year.

McCormick has a long criminal history of drug trafficking dating back to the 1990s.

Crown Counsel’s Oren Bick says fentanyl cases should have harsher punishments than cases involving drugs like heroin. “In addition to having the same effect on the body, the same level addictiveness — it’s also more dangerous and more likely to cause overdoses and deaths.”

However, McCormick’s lawyer Lawrence Meyers is arguing drug makers and suppliers are to blame for producing fentanyl and making it available on the streets. He adds one particular drug should not be considered an aggravating factor over another when it comes to sentencing.

“We have to refrain from the lynch-mob mentality that is that if we hang Mr. McCormick out to dry then that will solve our problem. We’ve been dealing with drugs for 40 years, both here and in the United States.”

McCormick was arrested after a police operation following a spike in overdoses back in 2014.

Earlier this year, BC’s top doctor declared a public health emergency after a huge uptick in overdoses. Between January and the end of June, deaths were up nearly 75 per cent, compared to the same time in 2016.

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