18 months for selling pot to cops
THE NEWS/files William Perry, the owner of Guilty Pleasures was got an 18-month conditional sentencing for trafficking marijuana. He will spend the first six months under house arrest.
It was a trickle of tips that piqued the interest of police. The first, received anonymously on 20 April 2004, revealed a Maple Ridge sex shop was selling a lot more than "high-class" porn, flavoured rolling paper and bongs.
The tipster revealed a half kilogram of marijuana was hidden in a fridge at the back of Guilty Pleasures, a store that boasts the "finest in adult entertainment" on 207th Street.
By May, another source claimed "baggies" of pot were being sold out of the store for $20.
Next, police received a scribbled undated note. It read: "Marijuana and cocaine can be purchased from behind the counter ... "
It was information enough to begin an investigation, and so launched a three-month sting that lured the store's owner, William Perry, into selling police officers several grams of potent, but illegal Cannabis sativa – pot.
Guilty Pleasures is a store with crowded windows displaying sex toys, cheeky costumes, raunchy magazines and colourful, cute pot paraphernalia.
Off busy Lougheed Highway, it's next door to The Vinyl Showbar, a classy strip club. The sex store opens after noon and its lights don't turn off till 2 a.m.
A search warrant application details how the Maple Ridge drug squad got Perry, a self-professed marijuana advocate and former mayoral candidate, to sell them weed.
Three undercover police women first met Perry, a man in his 30s with dark brown hair and shaggy bangs, on April 19, 2005.
Dressed in blue jeans and an Orange County Chopper T-shirt, he was quick to chat with the girls as they walked through his store, each officer making mental notes and keeping keen details of each isle.
They detailed all the contents of the shelves in a report to their supervisor: drug pipes and "bongs," big and small; "The Volcano," a special marijuana smoking device; videos and books on how to grow marijuana; nutrients to reap a healthy pot crop; and a petition urging marijuana legalization.
Perry was busy that day, clicking away at a computer near the cashier.
The screen saver that flickered across his monitor was a picture of lush green marijuana plant.
It was the first he ever grew, he told the undercover cop. He was very talkative.
As the constables flipped through a calendar filled with pictures of marijuana plants, Perry revealed how he had a "strong arm discussion" with the Maple Ridge bylaw department to get his business licence. Guilty Pleasures was the 12th sex shop he had opened.
During the conversation, Cst. Valerie Thibodeau pointed to a calendar picture with hairy serrated leaves.
I'm looking for a sample for that, she said.
Perry turned to her, stretched out his hand and asked: "Is this what you are looking for?" holding up a plump green Cannabis bud.
Apparently, Perry was testing marijuana for many growers in the area.
The marijuana bud looked good, said the cop.
Perry told her to come back later. He could set things up.
"Anything to serve you and feed your needs."
Before the trio left, Perry told them he hated the police and the government. Police actually want crime, he said.
"Crime keeps the police employed."
The undercover cops would return to the store several times between April and July, eventually getting Perry to sell them marijuana three times.
During one encounter, Perry held an Evian plastic bottle close to Cst. Thibodeau's face.
Inside the bottle, there was a 30-centimetre shoot of a young marijuana plant.
"Do you know what this is?" he asked
"A pot plant." He told the undercover officer he was going to plant it in memory of his sister-in-law.
Cst. Jaclyn Martin made the first purchase of marijuana on May 19 2005.
"So, I'm looking to buy, do you know where I can go?" she asked Perry, standing behind the counter.
"I can hook you up. It will get a few of your friends f---ed up," Perry said.
He slipped behind the cash counter and pulled out a white Nike shoe box and placed clumps of dry marijuana on a small digital scale.
He placed it in a small paper bag, placed a few rolling papers inside and folded it.
On May 26, 2005, Cst. Thibodeau bought three grams of marijuana called Kali-Mist for $40.
Perry explained he liked to vary the kind of marijuana he grew.
The undercover officer came back in June. This time, she purchased "an eight" for $50.
You have to be very careful with this stuff, Perry told the cop. The strain of pot called "The Hog" was very potent.
The cops returned twice on July 6, 2005, when they bought $40 and $50 worth of pot.
Police raided the store that evening, seizing grow videos, cultivation books, glass pipes, and $6,000 in cash. They took Perry's archival collection of Cannabis Culture and other marijuana magazines.
The raid and ensuing charges prompted Perry to run for mayor of Maple Ridge.
During the election campaing, he told The News, I'd rather have people who are going to use marijuana to make an informed choice and purchase clean, high-grade pot from him instead of something off the street, possibly mixed with other drugs or chemicals, for pure profits.
He believes marijuana should be legalized because "it's inundated in mainstream society today."
He also finds pot to be beneficial - it is another reason to legalize it.
Perry said he has smoked pot for several years and has never wanted to try harder drugs like cocaine and heroin.
Marijuana has helped make him a better person, allowing him to relax and cope with anger issues.
After being charged Perry said he was arrested after selling small amount of marijuana to two undercover cops who were acting distraught because of life and work.
"So I helped them out."
Perry got just 99 votes in the municipal election.
He pleaded guilty to trafficking in New Westminster Supreme Court after Crown prosecutor Simon Adams reviewed the file and indicated it would most likely win at trial.
Police found the money which they used to purchase pot in Perry's cash register. Perry was vocal and candid about selling them weed.
Adams said the fact that Perry was selling an illegal drug out of a legitimate business was considered an "aggravating factor" during sentencing.
His lawyer Richard Fowler argued Guilty Pleasures was never a front for marijuana sales. Perry had sold pot on no more that "20 occasions."
At 31, Perry got an 18 month conditional sentence for trafficking marijuana between April and July 2005.
For the first six months , he will remain under house arrest, only allowed to leave his home for work or a medical emergency. He also had a 10 year arms prohibition and was ordered to forfeit the $6,000 in cash.
Police are allowed to search Perry and his business at any time without a search warrant or his consent.
The District of Maple Ridge is investigating whether the municipality can revoke his business licence.
Mayor Gordie Robson doesn't know if a conditional sentence gives the district grounds.
He remains disappointed with the sentence.
"Selling drugs through a retail outlet is not a good thing. I think the courts could have been far more severe with him."
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