What was supposed to be a three-week trial for convicted Malakwa drug dealer Colin Martin ended in two days with a guilty plea.
On March 19, in Salmon Arm Supreme Court, Martin entered a guilty plea for charges of production of a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking. Sentencing is scheduled to take place in Salmon Arm on April 9.
As of press time, the trial of co-accused Jason Airey on the same two charges was still in progress. He, Martin and Martin’s common-law spouse Jennifer Cahill were arrested in July 2010 after police raided the Malakwa home Martin and Cahill were residing in, as well as a workshop on an adjacent property. Investigating officers uncovered a bunker hidden beneath the workshop containing approximately 3,000 marijuana plants.
Court documents state officers seized two baggies of marijuana, a paper bag containing marijuana with the name “Colin” written on it from the residence, as well as documents and emails showing Martin, Cahill and their company, Gorge Timber Ltd., arranging for the bunker’s construction, and a Health Canada application for a licence to produce marijuana prepared in Martin’s name.
Martin, Cahill and Airey were initially charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, production of a controlled substance and theft of telecommunication service.
The charges against Cahill were subsequently stayed.
Martin was also charged with breach of recognizance. Prior to his 2010 arrest, he had been out on bail while appealing a two-and-a-half year jail sentence handed to him in 2007 after he was found guilty on eight counts relating to a drug-smuggling operation between U.S. and Canada.
Later this year, Martin is expected to be back in Supreme Court for a U.S. extradition hearing related to a more recent cross-border smuggling operation.