Kelowna RCMP raided a Black Mountain home and the Duke & Duchess clothing store in downtown Kelowna (British Columbia) in August 2017, the result of an 11-month investigation that monitored opioid trafficking on the dark web.
Two months later, police revealed to the public that they had confiscated 120 grams of illicit fentanyl or carfentanil and said the drugs were bound for the cities of Canada, America, Europe and Australia.
Despite the police calling the operation “one of the most relevant and perhaps the most complex fentanyl / carfentanil manufacturing and exporting undertakings uncovered in Canada to date,” no charges were imposed until almost a year after the raid, when 14 separate charges were laid against James Nelson and Cassie Bonthoux, including multiple counts of manufacturing, trafficking and importing/exporting.
Bonthoux owned the Duke & Duchess clothing store at the time, but it has since shut down.
The Crown stayed six of the charges facing the pair last summer, until Nelson pleaded guilty this past February to drug trafficking and possession for the purpose of carfentanil trafficking. As part of the plea bargain, Nelson’s remaining charges are likely to stay with the Crown until sentencing is complete. The allegations against Bonthoux remain before the Trial, and her next hearing is scheduled for May 19.
Nelson’s two-day sentencing hearing was set in court in Kelowna this week but the trial was delayed due to the COVID-19 virus. The couple remains out of jail, and a new sentencing date is scheduled for Nelson on Friday.