CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A 37-year-old man who was part of the biggest cocaine seizure in P.E.I.’s history was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison.
John Laybolt appeared before Chief Judge Nancy Orr in provincial court in Charlottetown for sentencing after pleading guilty to possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and possessing marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.
He also pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm while prohibited.
Federal Crown attorney Jonathan Coady told the court that Charlottetown police had Laybolt under surveillance in March when he drove to a spot with a “no dumping” sign, dropped something in the snow and then left.
Coady said the police found a bag of cocaine by the sign, which they had under video surveillance.
On May 4, the police arrested Laybolt and executed a search warrant on his home where they seized cocaine, marijuana, various drug paraphernalia and more than $16,000 in cash.
In total, the police seized 2.6 kilograms of cocaine during the investigation, including various bags of it and a one-kilogram brick.
Coady said it was the largest amount of cocaine ever seized in P.E.I.
Some other notable cocaine seizures in P.E.I.:
The police also seized 3.6 kilograms of marijuana, including some in two sleeves of vacuum-sealed bags.
They also found more than 10 kilograms of Benzocaine, which is used as a cutting agent for cocaine.
When they searched the home, the police found a .32-calibre handgun in a drawer in a microwave stand in the kitchen.
There was also shotgun ammunition and a pellet gun in the home.
Coady described it as a sophisticated drug operation, which included a cash counter, cellphones, vacuum sealers and a notebook to record information related to drug trafficking.
Although he didn’t give an exact street value for the drugs seized, Coady said it was a significant amount.
“You’re dealing with an operation that’s valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said.
The Crown and defence made a joint recommendation of five years in prison on the drug charges and nine months to be served concurrently on the weapon charge.
Defence lawyer Yolande Murphy told the court Laybolt understood the consequences he was facing and she said he didn’t have a drug addiction.
“He admits that this was purely a business operation,” she said.
Before sentencing Laybolt, Orr said it was concerning when someone makes money by spreading misery, which is what cocaine does.
Orr agreed to the joint recommendation, minus 72 days she credited for time already spent in custody and she ordered the forfeiture of 32 items the police seized.
Laybolt will be under a lifetime weapon prohibition and must provide a DNA sample for the national databank.
Before Laybolt left the courtroom, Orr told him he has a lot of time ahead of him and hopefully he uses it in a productive manner.