Prison for man in 2018 North Dundas drug and weapons bust

The front entrance to the Cornwall courthouse at 29 Second Street West. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

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CORNWALL – A North Dundas man will be spending time in a federal prison as part of his sentence in a May 2018 Chesterville area drug and weapons bust.

Brandon Elliott, 30, was sentenced this afternoon (Thursday) in a Cornwall court to three years and four months in prison. With credit for time served, his sentence amounts to around two-and-a-half years behind bars.

The provincial and federal Crowns had been seeking a sentence of four years and nine months while the defence had sought three years and four months. Based on similar cases, a typical sentence is in the range of 3-5 years.

Elliott had pleaded guilty in January to eight weapons and stolen property related charges and one count of drug trafficking. He had been facing 31 charges.

He was arrested May 29, 2018 when the O.P.P. searched a County Road 7 home in North Dundas and seized marijuana, crystal meth, meth pills, GHB (date rape drug), speed, cocaine, cash, stolen weapons, ammunition and an all-terrain vehicle.

Elliott’s lawyer, Neha Chugh, argued that her client had a great deal of remorse and that his actions had led to missing the birth of his daughter. There has also been ongoing support from his family, Chugh said. Elliott’s parents were in court gallery. Elliott had a good reputation in the construction industry where he worked and had been selling drugs to support his addiction. His escalating drug use had reached a point where he was using a “lethal combination of drugs” to stay awake and fall asleep while working, Chugh explained.

After his sentence, Elliott is confident he will return to North Dundas and get a job again in the construction industry, which he has worked in since he was a teenager.

Ontario Crown attorney Michael Purcell said the single biggest factor for a stiff sentence was that Elliott had a sawed-off shotgun in his car – noting that nobody should have that prohibited weapon which is “modified for the primary purpose of intimidating or killing human beings.”

A large hunting knife was also found in the car as well as four carelessly stored firearms in the home near the kitchen with ammunition close at hand.

As for the drug trafficking charge, federal Crown attorney Tilton Donihee said that a nine month consecutive sentence would be appropriate with the “vast array” of drugs that were found. Judge Johanne Lafrance-Cardinal used her discretion and gave a nine month concurrent sentence for the drug charge.

“Mr. Elliott is a new dad. A little girl. He has missed his daughter’s birth. He will now miss her first steps. He will miss her first words. He’s going to miss a lot of this little girl’s life because of his actions,” Judge Johanne Lafrance-Cardinal said.

But the judge noted that Elliott is motivated to serve his sentence to learn from his mistakes and “become a positive influence in his daughter’s life.”

“People have to know that if you have a sawed-off shotgun. If you have knives in our car, you’re going to go to jail…for a long time,” Lafrance-Cardinal added.

“This a huge sentence for someone who has never been to jail and who’s never been at the federal penitentiary. But the message has to be clear that people can’t go around with that amount of guns – sawed-off shotgun in their car – because it is just too dangerous,” the judge said.

Elliott will also have a weapons ban for 10 years and will have to submit a DNA sample.

Lafrance-Cardinal finished by wishing Elliott good luck.

“Mr. Elliott. The rest is you. You have to decide that you’re going to get the counselling in the jail that you’re entitled to. Hopefully you will be able to put that addiction behind you and when you get to go home you’ll get to be the father that you want to be. Good luck to you.”

In a separate court appearance this afternoon, Elliott’s spouse, Brittany Tessier, pleaded guilty to four charges – possession of property obtained by crime, careless storage of firearms, careless storage of ammunition and possession of a firearm without a licence – in relation to the same case.

Tessier will be sentenced on May 2.

The federal Crown attorney dropped drug trafficking charges against Tessier, given Elliott’s conviction.

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