A Vernon drug dealer has been sentenced on 26 charges in BC Supreme Court.
34 year old Ronald Learning was convicted on a variety of offenses including possession of firearms, having false identity, and possession of drugs for trafficking.
He is currently serving a nine year sentence for importing 25 kg’s of cocaine into Saskatchewan, and will have another six years added to that for the Vernon offenses.
Judge Gary Weatherill says he wanted his sentence to send a strong message against gun violence in the drug trade, noting Learning had several loaded guns and four pitt-bulls at his home for protection.
“The increase in the use of handguns is troubling,” said the judge. “These are deadly weapons to those who use them and to innocent bystanders.”
Learning was arrested in 2015 after he picked up a package containing heroin sent from Thailand that was flagged by Canada Customs at the Vancouver Airport, and tracked by RCMP.
A search of his home in Vernon turned up four loaded handguns, various drugs, and cash.
The judge also ordered all of the items seized from Learning’s home to be forfeited to the Crown.
“They were all drug related,” said Weatherill.
Learning was also given a lifetime ban for using firearms or explosives, and ordered to provide a DNA sample.
Learning addressed the judge when asked if he had anything to say near the end of the hearing:
“I am at a loss for words right now, I know what I’ve done is wrong and I don’t know how to express that. I know it seems I am a threat to the public, but I am not. I am aware of how everything looks in the public eye, but I am not the person that’s been made out today. That’s not me,” said Learning who said the pitt-bulls were ‘puppies” and only about four months old.
Weatherill says the evidence showed Learning was a mid to high level trafficker who was part of the organized drug trade.
The Crown had called for a seven to nine year prison sentence, while the defence recommended a total of 26 months, noting Learning was a first time offender when it happened, and so as not to make the sentence “crushing” in conjunction with the one from Saskatchewan.