Nanaimo Courthouse. (News Bulletin file photo)

‘Disregard for human life:’ Nanaimo fentanyl trafficker gets four-year sentence

Michael Damien Byrne was arrested as part of 2017 bust

A drug trafficker with a long history of convictions, deemed by a judge to be “indifferent to the lives he was putting at risk,” will be behind bars for another two and a half years.

Michael Damien Byrne, 42, was sentenced earlier this spring to four years, with credit for 18 months served, for possession of fentanyl/heroin and fentanyl/carfentanil with the purpose of trafficking, and possession of brass knuckles in a vehicle.

The judgment came down in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo on April 6 and was published June 1.

Byrne, who had six convictions for possession for the purpose of trafficking from 2006-2011, was caught as part of a bust in May 2017. Nanaimo RCMP reported at the time that five adults were arrested at two locations, and evidence seized included 57 grams of suspected opioids, 85 grams of cocaine, 241 grams of methamphetamine, numerous weapons and more than $24,000 in cash.

The court judgment notes that police surveillance in April and May of that year led officers to conclude that Byrne was involved in “dial-a-dope” transactions out of a motel room in central Nanaimo. A search of the room found small amounts of fentanyl/heroin, fentanyl/carfentanil, and methamphetamine, a mortar and pestle, mixing bowls and scales, as well as two hatchets and a pellet gun. A search of his vehicle yielded approximately 16 grams of heroin/fentanyl and the judgment notes that the “fentanyl purity differed in each baggie.”

“While Mr. Byrne concedes that he was not on the lowest rung of this drug trafficking organization, he submits that the evidence does not support a characterization of his activities as being other than as a low-level operator,” noted Justice Douglas Thompson in his judgment.

Byrne’s sentencing began in April 2019, but Byrne, who was on bail at the time “absconded during the mid-morning break,” the judgment notes, and “was arrested in due course.”

The judge characterized Byrne’s possession for the purpose of trafficking offences as very serious.

“The variation and extent of purity levels of fentanyl in the heroin/fentanyl mixture is alarming…” the judgment notes. “The presence of the mortar and pestle in Mr. Byrne’s motel room indicates a rudimentary mixing method that exposes users to risk at a level that shows disregard for human life.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo man charged following drug bust



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Court

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

United Church benefits from goodwill of Magpies business owners

Considerable donation of items made after move from former Willow Street shop

Recognizing exceptional professionalism on World Teachers’ Day

COVID has brought an unprecedented change to the education system

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

Blitterswyk awarded another significant scholarship

The honours just keep coming for Chemainus Secondary School 2020 grad class valedictorian

Killer whales cause a scene

WHALE OF A TALE Art Carlyle captured these images of killer whales… Continue reading

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

B.C. salmon farm opponents demand answers from DFO

First Nations, conservation groups dismayed by omission of sea lice in risk assessments

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

First Nations Health Authority chief medical officer concerned with rising COVID-19 cases

“There’s still so much we don’t know and we’re learning everyday about this particular virus.”

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Most Read