BUSINESS BOOMS FOR DRUG DEALERS - COURT
Trial Begins In 2006 Drug-Debt Shooting
North Bay is a great place to earn a living if you're a drug dealer.
It's a message that came out of the first day of a trial looking into the fallout between dealers that led to a near-fatal shooting at a Cassells Street residence in 2006.
Money is available, especially at the end of the month, with one dealer saying he could rake in up to $2,000 daily, the trial heard.
Even on a slow day, he could make $200 to $300 per day or more, which was enough to supply his own drug habit.
That habit put him in $640 debt to his supplier after paying half the cost for an ounce of cocaine. Three men burst into a Cassells Street home Oct. 15, 2006, where he had been living, to collect on that debt.
He was shot in the chest and still has the bullet lodged in his spine.
Kevin Pelletier is accused of pulling the trigger as a professional drug enforcer, charged with attempted murder and extortion using a .22-calibre handgun.
The identity of the street-level drug dealer he's accused of shooting is protected by a court order.
Three men beat and stabbed him in March 2006 over a $200 debt and for refusing to buy from them after they raised their prices. They received jail sentences of 3 1/2 and 8 1/2 years.
Their victim has admitted to at least one transaction near a school with Darrin Bruneau - the man he sold drugs for until their relationship soured in the months leading up to the shooting.
Bruneau received a jail sentence of 42 months for extortion and illegal possession of a restricted weapon.
Pelletier remains in custody.
A third man, Derek Davis, is awaiting trial.
Pelletier, who was picked up on an arrest warrant in British Columbia, is also accused of possessing a restricted weapon and conspiring with another known drug dealer, Marcel Serre, to commit an aggravated assault in August 2006.
He's also charged with a home invasion and extortion six days before the shooting to clear up other drug debts.
Court heard the shooting victim couldn't name the person who pulled the trigger, and the Crown attorney told court the trial will hear that he picked him out of a photo lineup months later.
Warrants were issued Monday for two Crown witnesses who failed to show.
The trial heard another witness serving a sentence at the North Bay Jail will be reluctant to give evidence about providing police with information of the shooting and the location of the .22-calibre handgun recovered by an Ontario Provincial Police dive team.
The trial could last at least three weeks.