Man accused of trafficking over 2kg of crystal meth in Kingston found guilty

After his arrest in the City of Kingston in October 2018, Jacques Trudel has been found guilty of trafficking of a controlled substance — crystal methamphetamine — by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The Frontenac County Courthouse, which serves as the Superior Court of Justice in Kingston, Ontario. Photo by Iris Van Loon.

A lengthy investigation into possible drug trafficking by Trudel led by the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) began in March 2018, and culminated in the takedown and arrest of three individuals in the Kingscourt neighbourhood on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018.

On October 1, 2018, OPS began surveillance of Trudel, and on Oct. 9, 2018, Trudel and two associates drove his maroon Chevy Impala from Limgoes, Ontario, east of Ottawa, to a motel in Mississauga, and then to Kingston — the second time he had made a visit to Kingston in a week. The surveilling detectives submitted videos of various moments throughout the following incidents, which were accepted as evidence.

Trudel was tried across eight days in November 2021, with the trial concluding on January 19, 2022. According to the ruling, the vehicle made a stop at Mallorytown on its drive westward. Trudel returned from the rest stop and reached into the front passenger seat. Police observed him removing two bags, which he then put into the Impala’s trunk. He also spent nearly a minute moving items around in the trunk, while also moving things from one area of the vehicle to another.

The three individuals in the vehicle that day were Jacques Trudel in the front passenger seat, his cousin, Guy, driving, and a third man, Christopher Francoeur, sitting in the rear passenger seat.

While in Mississauga, the three men were followed by police. It appeared Trudel paid for a room at the motel, and the three men entered it briefly before driving to a nearby mall. When they entered the mall, it appeared they had nothing in their possession, but when they left, Guy Trudel was carrying a black backpack. When the men returned to the motel, police observed Trudel taking something from the trunk and placing it in the backpack. The men then entered the motel. About two and a half hours later, the three men left the motel with Francoeur in possession of the backpack, which, police noted, appeared to be heavier than when it went in. The men left Mississauga and headed east along Highway 401.

According to testimony, the Ottawa Police Service had contacted Kingston Police for assistance when it appeared that Trudel may stop within city limits. Kingston Police had attempted to follow Trudel when he had been in town days before.

At nearly 9 p.m. on that date, Kingston Police positioned cruisers at the end of Highway 401 exit ramps in an attempt to stop Trudel. The vehicle Trudel was in left Highway 401 at the Division Street exit, at which point police attempted to arrest the individuals in the car. Trudel told the driver of the car — his cousin Guy Trudel — to drive off, despite the armed police detective asking them to stop the car, the court heard.

The Impala drove off down Division Street at high speed, and police followed. A Kingston Police detective, Preston Scott, testified that he saw an arm reach out of the rear window of the Impala with a plastic bag. The bag was caught in the wind, and he saw two objects fall to the ground. The detective testified that he stopped to retrieve the tubs which, he believed contained crystal methamphetamines. A second detective retrieved one tub, and Scott retrieved the other. Both were found to contain crystal methamphetamines, just over two kg in total.

Thanks to a GPS tracker which the OPS had placed on the Impala, the vehicle was quickly located at a church parking lot in the Kingscourt neighbourhood. When police arrived, the vehicle was empty. The men were seen leaving a nearby park, and police were able to capture all three men, despite the fact they had split up and travelled in different directions.

On arrest, Trudel was found to have $5,660 in Canadian currency and 15.5 hydromorphone pills in his possession. Neither his cousin nor Francoeur were found to have large amounts of cash or any drugs in their possession.

According to an expert witness, the amount of crystal methampethamines that police seized, 2,024.7 grams, would supply a heavy user for almost three years. A kilogram of crystal meth would sell for between $12,000 and $18,000, depending on the source of the drug.

All three men were charged with possession of a schedule 1 substance for the purpose of trafficking. Mid-way through the trial, the charges against Guy Trudel and Mr. Francoeur were resolved. Franceour pleaded guilty and was sentenced by another judge, and Guy Trudel obtained a stay after pleading guilty to unrelated pending charges.

In her verdict, Justice Sally Gomery outlined the criteria for constructive and joint possession.

“For the purposes of this Act,

(a) a person has anything in possession when he … knowingly

  • (i) has it in the actual possession or custody of another person, or
  • (ii) has it in any place, whether or not that place belongs to or is occupied by him, for the use or benefit of himself or of another person; and

(b) where one of two or more persons, with the knowledge and consent of the rest, has anything in his custody or possession, it shall be deemed to be in the custody and possession of each and all of them.”

According to proceedings, Gomery questioned whether Trudel knew the drugs were in the car before they were thrown out, and whether he exercised a measure of control over them. She then outlined the possible moments when the drugs would have been placed into the car.

“Either the crystal methamphetamine was in the car from the time the Impala left Limoges to drive to Mississauga, or the drugs were brought into the car at some point during the trip,” she stated.

If the first scenario is correct, Gomery noted that Trudel had access to every part of the vehicle. The drugs were in two plastic containers measuring 9” by 6” by 3”, with coloured lids. During his time at the rest stop in Mallorytown, he entered into or looked into the car from each of the front doors and the rear passenger door, and spent time moving around the contents of the trunk.

“This unfettered access and control of the contents of the Impala makes it unreasonable to infer that the drugs were in the car, but undiscovered by him,” she stated.

The second scenario, that two kilograms of crystal methamphetamines were acquired sometime later that day and brought into the car, infers that they were brought into the car by Francoeur when he, and the other two men, checked out of the Mississauga Motel.  

“Based on the videotape of him when left the hotel, the contents of the paper bag he was carrying were not bulky or heavy enough to contain two plastic containers of drugs,” Justice Gomery noted. “This means that the drugs must have been in the black backpack, which did appear to be weighted down when Mr. Francoeur was carrying it out of the motel.”

“The question I must then ask is as follows:  based on the totality of the relevant evidence, is there any reasonable possibility that Mr. Trudel did not know about the drugs in the backpack?” Gomery posed.

She went on to note that the three men acted in concert throughout the trip, that all of their activities spoke to a common purpose, and that Trudel had “a lead role in the venture.”

“Mr. Trudel exercised control over the contents of the Impala in a way that the other two men did not,” she stated. “While Mr. Francoeur was inside buying coffee at the rest stop, Mr. Trudel rearranged items in the trunk, reaching deep into it, and moved things from the interior of the car to the trunk. He retrieved two plastic bags from the front seat, and then spent considerable time storing them in the trunk. I infer, from the testimony of the officers who saw him doing this and the videotape taken at the time, that Mr. Trudel was attempting to conceal something in the trunk. He paused and looked around the parking lot as he did this. I do not infer a sinister intent from any of this. I do, however, infer that Mr. Trudel was exercising control over access to the contents of the car. Mr. Trudel dug deep inside the trunk again before the men entered the Studio 6 Motel for a second time. Neither of the other two men were rummaging in the trunk or the body of the Impala, or moving things around within it at any point that day.”

The Justice also stated that it is implausible to believe that Trudel did not either make the decision to transport the methamphetamines, or consent to let Francoeur transport them in the Impala. Francoeur was never observed driving the car or exercising access to the trunk or front seat. Guy Trudel was in the driver’s seat when it left the Mallorytown rest stop on October 9, but, according to Gomery, it was Jacques Trudel alone who exercised access to every part of the interior of the Impala, and control over what objects remained in it and how they were stored within the vehicle.

“If there were any lingering doubt about Mr. Trudel’s control of the car, it was dispelled by his instruction to his cousin to evade the police takedown, and his cousin’s immediate compliance with this instruction, with the risk of a serious car accident and injury during the ensuing high-speed chase,” she said. “I conclude that the only reasonable inference, on the whole of the evidence, is that Mr. Trudel had the ability to direct what would happen to the Impala and its contents.  As a result, he had control over the drugs so long as they were stored inside of it.”

“On the totality of the evidence, I find that the Crown has proved, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Mr. Trudel was in possession or joint possession, with Mr. Francoeur, of the two kilograms of crystal methamphetamine that was thrown from the Impala on October 9, 2018.”

Read the full court document here.

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