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Court rejects North Van fentanyl dealer's appeal of 34-month jail sentence

Judge correct to prioritize denunciation and deterrence, says appeal court
A North Vancouver fentanyl dealer has lost his appeal of a 34-month jail sentence. | photo Cindy Goodman, North Shore News

A drug dealer who sold “spitballs” of fentanyl and heroin and rocks of cocaine to addicts on the North Shore has lost his appeal of a 34-month jail sentence.

Arash Kardan, 25, was handed the sentence in November of 2022 in North Vancouver provincial court after pleading guilty to possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking in connection with running a North Vancouver dial-a-dope operation in 2019 and 2020.

Kardan also pleaded guilty to assaulting a peace officer and resisting a peace officer for getting into physical fights with police during several arrests.

On Feb. 14 a B.C. Court of Appeal decision upheld Kardan’s almost-three-year jail sentence, writing the circumstances of the crimes justified the prison term.

During a 2022 sentencing hearing in provincial court, a Crown prosecutor told the judge North Vancouver RCMP began surveillance on Kardan in September of 2019 as part of an investigation into drug offences. Police used tracking devices on both vehicles and phones to watch as Kardan drove from Vancouver to the North Shore every day, stopping at a Lonsdale apartment, then making numerous short stops consistent with a dial-a-dope operation.

On Dec. 18, 2019, police moved in to arrest Kardan at Capilano Mall, discovering him with 13 packages of rock and powder cocaine as well as fentanyl. Four months later, police watched Kardan coming and going from trails in Mahon Park with a black bag. Police searched the bag Kardan had hidden in the park, seizing pre-packaged amounts of drugs, including heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and MDMA.

Kardan was arrested two more times during the investigation, turning up individually wrapped packages of cocaine. In both cases, Kardan also tried to run away from arresting officers – including striking one officer in the face with a bag and running away in handcuffs.

In appeal court, Kardan’s lawyer argued the sentencing judge made a mistake in treating fentanyl dealing as an aggravating factor that warranted a higher jail term, asking for a much shorter sentence of 12 months in jail.

But a panel of appeal court judges rejected that, saying fentanyl dealing was just one of several aggravating factors in the case.

The appeal court noted that “there was no evidence that drugs possessed by [Kardan] resulted in anyone’s death; however, the judge noted that the dial-a-dope operation was 'just one of many keeping [the] lethal overdose crisis gripping the lives of vulnerable addicts running at full speed,’” describing such operations as making “access to drugs as easy as ordering a pizza.”

In listing the aggravated circumstances of the case, the appeal court noted Kardan distributed fentanyl as part of an organized scheme and appears to have stashed the deadly drug in a public park, while on bail for other offences. Kardan was also violent when confronted by police.

Under those circumstances, the judge was correct to “prioritize denunciation and deterrence,” wrote the appeal court panel.

The 34-month sentence was imposed consecutive to a two-year sentence Kardan had received a month earlier in October 2022, for threatening and beating his drug delivery driver, eventually dumping the man bleeding in an alley.