A man who previously owned Kelowna clothing store was sent to spend a jail term of 11 years on Tuesday because he was involved in trafficking fentanyl on darknet from his base in Kelowna.
A lawyer by the name James Nelson and his counterpart Cassie Bonthoux started a clothing line which they named Duke and Duchess clothing store located on Pandosy street in the year 2013. Unknowingly, Nelson was secretly transporting fentanyl and other dangerous substances like opioid carfentanil to different countries around the world.
In August 2017, Nelson and Bonthoux got arrested one year after a police officer saw an advert for fentanyl on the darknet market AlphaBay during an investigation. The substance was being sold by someone using a username FatTuesday_13.
Immediately, the Calgary police department started monitoring FatTuesday_13. The observation led to the purchase of two different shipments containing fentanyl and carfentanil from FatTuesday_13 with an estimated amount of about $125 USD each.
FatTuesday_13 immediately revealed himself as “ one of the premium fentanyl vendors in Western Canada.”
The substance was received around a week after making the payments. The packages have a Homes & Land Okanagan magazine while the substances were right in the package glued to the pages of the magazine.
The American Internal Revenue immediately notified the Calgary police department that FatTuesday_13 was a possible codename used by James Nelson, who is living on Loseth Drive in Kelowna.
As at this time, the Kelowna RCMP had been assisting the Calgary police in surveilling Nelson and Bonthoux. Bonthoux had been seen sending several packages by mail and also receiving a large stack of Homes & Land Okanagan magazines.
On November 3, 2016, there was a hitch when the authorities stopped a shipment of drugs to be delivered to Nelson and Bonthoux’s base, only to find out three days later that the user FatTuesday_13 had gone on “vacation mode’’ thereby making the account inactive. However, come July, the same account resurfaced on another darknet market, which is the Dream Market. It was discovered that FatTuesday_13 had made an advert that he makes available the “best stealth period’’ in substances being shipped.
After several weeks of FatTuesday_13 resurfacing online on the darknet, the police arrested Bonthoux on August 10, 2017, at the Duke and Duchess while Nelson was arrested while he was sending packages containing fentanyl and carfentanil by mail. The location of the packages was Texas, Ontario, Australia, Cyprus, and California.
The only son of Nelson and Bonthoux was with him when he was arrested, but the child was taken from him and handed to his grandparents.
The police found 102.9 grams of potent carfentanil while searching for the couple’s house. Likewise, many other trafficking materials like score sheets, scales, and 97 Canada Post receipts from the preceding month were seen. There were also found with him 19.2 Bitcoins around the worth of $83,000 as at then.
Messages were also found by the police, which was sent to Nelson from someone anonymous about shipping drugs in wholesale quantities to be sent through legal means of clothing shipments.
Nelson and Bonthoux’s operation at the time was named as “one of the most significant and perhaps the most sophisticated fentanyl/carfentanil trafficking and exportation enterprises that have been uncovered in Canada to date.”
There were no charges on Nelson and Bonthoux until a year later when 14 separate charges were leveled against them for their trafficking escapades. In April, Nelson pleaded guilty to trafficking 1.52 grams of fentanyl. He also pleaded guilty to possessing 102.9 grams of carfentanil, which was meant to be trafficked. However, because of his agreement to a plea deal, the Crown dropped other charges against Nelson and Bonthoux.
The Crown, who had initially wanted to sentence Nelson to 16 years for his two convictions, had to become considerate because of the guilty plea he made and because of his addiction to opioids, which led him into the act of drug trafficking. Nelson had revealed that he, with his partner-in-crime, had been using about $10,000 worth of opioids every single month while their clothing business had not been yielding profits.
Nelson has been released on bail from custody after he was arrested in 2017. There were many members of Nelson’s family in Kelowna courtroom when he was sentenced and taken away by the sheriff. His parole will not be due until three years and eight months.