A British Columbia truck driver admitted Monday he was stupid to get involved with a high-profile gang figure, the father of his grandchild, in a scheme to import Mexican cocaine into Canada – but his contrition didn't prevent a judge from sentencing him to 3-1/2 years in prison.
Wayne Scott, 56, of Abbotsford, B.C., was convicted earlier this year, along with Jarrod Bacon, of conspiracy to traffic cocaine. The pair were busted in a reverse-sting operation in which a police agent offered to sell 100 kilograms of cocaine for $3 million.
Mr. Bacon, one of three brothers the police have accused of being gangsters, was in a relationship with Mr. Scott's daughter and the couple had a son together.
Mr. Scott insisted he was merely a go-between who put Mr. Bacon in touch with a former co-worker. He also argued he was manipulated by his former work colleague – who turned out to be working as a police agent – to do something that was completely out of character.
The judge agreed Mr. Scott likely wouldn't have entered such a conspiracy had it not been for the "accidents" of fate that saw him associating with Mr. Bacon and his friend-turned-police agent. But the judge added Mr. Scott nonetheless participated in the conspiracy willingly.
"I accept that he is a naive and unsophisticated man with no particular individual propensity for wrongdoing who became caught up in circumstances created by the cross-currents of the ambitions of others," Associate Chief Justice Austin Cullen of the B.C. Supreme Court told Mr. Scott's sentencing hearing on Monday.
"I am satisfied, however, that his involvement was a product of his free will, and was motivated to a significant degree by profit."
The trial heard that a former co-worker of Mr. Scott's with a history of drug trafficking, identified only by his initials, approached him in early 2009 asking for a meeting with Mr. Bacon to talk about a trafficking opportunity.
Mr. Scott obliged, the court heard. Initially, his role was limited to facilitating meetings between Mr. Bacon and the friend, but he gradually became more involved. Eventually, he expected that he, too, would be paid for his role in the deal.
The deal was a work of fiction created by police. The scheme unravelled in November of 2009, when Mr. Scott and Mr. Bacon were arrested.
Scott addressed the court before his sentencing, reading a letter in which he apologized for his actions but also attempted to shift at least some of the blame to others.
"I'm very sorry for the poor decisions that were made on my part, causing stress to my family," Mr. Scott said.
"I realize that I have made many wrong decisions in these dealings, but was also used by many people, although I was initially trying not to be involved other than introducing two people. A degree of stupidity came into play in dealing with someone who I thought was my trusted friend — wrong decision."
Mr. Scott, wearing a dark suit, his silver-grey hair cropped short, sat in the prisoner's box watching attentively as the judge delivered his sentence.
Members of his family sat in the public gallery, including his daughter, Carly, whose relationship with Mr. Bacon became a central part of the case. She currently lives in her father's house in Abbotsford, the court heard, and she and her son depend on him financially.
As Mr. Scott was handcuffed following his sentencing, Carly Scott blew her father a kiss and, through tears, said, "Bye, daddy. I love you."
Earlier, Mr. Scott's lawyer, Jeremy Guild, said his client has suffered greatly since his arrest.
Mr. Scott lost his job and found it difficult to find employment, Mr. Guild said. He was forced to take out new financing on his home, which itself was difficult as banks shunned him as a customer. He has been on anti-depressants for anxiety and also has a heart condition, which delayed an earlier sentencing hearing.
On the other hand, Mr. Guild said, Mr. Scott has no previous criminal record and was praised in letters of reference submitted to the court. Mr. Guild argued that Mr. Scott was manipulated by people around him to do something that would otherwise have been out of character.
During the men's trial, Mr. Bacon testified in his own defence, insisting he lied about having access to $3 million to buy the cocaine and only ever intended to rob the police agent.
Scott did not testify, but his lawyer argued at trial that Scott merely facilitated meetings and was not involved in a conspiracy. He also argued that Scott was being used and manipulated by the police agent.
Bacon is the younger brother of Red Scorpions gang leader Jonathan Bacon, who was gunned down last year in Kelowna.
His other brother Jamie is facing a murder charge in the killings of six people in Surrey, B.C., in October 2007.