Appeal dismissed for Coquitlam man who held ‘middle management position’ in drug trafficking enterprise

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A former Coquitlam resident who was sentenced to 10 years in his prison for his role in a high-volume dial-a-dope operation recently failed to have his sentence reduced.

Two years after being convicted for a variety of firearm offenses and nine counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, Billie Onare Kim contended he shouldn’t have gotten a harsher sentence than offenders who were found guilty of more serious charges.

Despite noting several mitigating factors, including Kim’s sincere apology and his good prospects for rehabilitation, B.C. Court of Appeal Justice Ronald Skolrood dismissed Kim’s appeal.


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Born in Korea, Kim’s family settled in Canada, eventually moving to Coquitlam when Kim was 18.

Kim was in his teens when he started using ecstasy and “eventually became addicted to methamphetamine,” according to the judgment.

Kim left school halfway through Grade 12.

He became involved with the Red Scorpions. He was in his early 20s when he was convicted for trafficking.

Kim explained he was: “caught driving for someone who sold drugs to an undercover police officer,” according to a previous Supreme Court of B.C. judgment.

Kim was in his early 20s when he was sentenced to three months in jail and 12 months probation.

Following his release, Kim got his high school diploma and subsequently took business courses at Coquitlam College.

‘Deeper into a hole’

In early 2017, Kim was newly married with a child on the way. Following some business losses that left him in debt, Kim: “approached some of his former associates to obtain a loan,” according to the B.C. Supreme Court judgment.

He didn’t get the loan but he took a job in the drug trade, according to the judgment.

“I had other choices but I thought this choice was fastest and most effective to get out of the hole but soon [found] out that this was very much a wrong choice since it got me deeper into a hole,” Kim wrote in a letter.

Kim also stated that he was drinking and using methamphetamines. While not addicted, “he was not thinking clearly.”

Kim’s counsel told the court he planned to: “raise some money and leave the job within five or six months.”

At the time, his payments ranged from $1,500 to $6,000 per week, according to the judgment.

The drug trafficking operation, which was known as Green Planet, had their headquarters in a Richmond apartment complex.

The seizure

On Sept. 14, 2017, police searched the apartment and seized 170 grams of opioids and opioid mixtures including heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil – an opioid intended to be used on large animals such as elephants.

Police also found 216 grams of cocaine, both powder and rock, 81 grams of methamphetamine and 76 grams of oxycodone and acetaminophen as well as 1,228 grams of cutting agents.

The estimated value of the seized drugs was between $55,815 and $67,537, according to the ruling. Police also found $28,863 in cash.

Police also seized firearms, ammunition and two body armour vests from the Richmond apartment.

‘Sophisticated and high-volume’

Kim had the keys to the unit. Surveillance showed Kim: “was always the first person into the unit and the last person to leave,” according to the judgment.

Police searched Kim’s Burnaby home and found the master phones used in the dial-a-dope operation as well as: “an invoice for the vehicle used to deliver crack cocaine to an undercover police officer.”

Kim stated that his main role was packaging drugs and occasionally making deliveries to a line boss.

Calling the business, “sophisticated and high-volume drug trafficking operation,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Martha Devlin rejected Kim’s position that he played a minor role.

Kim played a pivotal role, mixing and packing drugs while maintaining the stash site, according to the judge.

Devlin described Kim as “a decision maker in the Green Planet operation” who “held a middle management position in the criminal enterprise.”


Approximately two weeks after Kim was arrested, his son was born.

Following his son’s health challenges, “Kim promised his wife and family that he would not engage in any further criminal activity,” Devlin wrote.

Over the last few years, Kim traded cryptocurrency and stocks, finding “significant success” prior to an economic downturn. He also worked various part-time jobs, according to the judgment.

“Kim said he was ashamed that he was involved in a crime that profited by providing deadly drugs. He also acknowledged the pain and suffering felt by parents who lose their children to drug overdoses,” Devlin wrote, adding that she felt Kim’s desire to make a positive change for the benefit of his young family was genuine.

Easy money

However, the judge also listed several aggravating factors, including the fact that the stash site, which contained a “toxic combination of drugs and guns,” was located in a densely populated residential apartment building.

Although he was capable of legitimate employment, Kim opted for “quick, easy money,” Devlin wrote.

Devlin also noted that, while heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine all pose a grave threat to the community, “that threat pales in comparison to the one posed by fentanyl and its analogues.”

Parity principle

While appealing Devlin’s sentence, Kim suggested his punishment was out of proportion when compared to the sentences received by other criminals who were part of the Green Planet drug trafficking enterprise.

The leader of the operation received an eight-year sentence on the Green Planet charges. Another member of the criminal enterprise received a six-year sentence on the Green Planet charges.

Kim argued that the judge misapplied the parity principle, which requires a sentence to be similar to sentences imposed on similar offenders for similar offences committed in similar circumstances.

B.C. Court of Appeal Justice Skolrood noted that Kim’s colleagues each eventually entered guilty pleas, resulting in: “considerable savings of court time and resources.”

Skolrood also noted that the leader of the operation was ultimately sentenced to 17 years and the other member of the enterprise didn’t have a criminal record and wasn’t charged with firearm offences.

The judge did not misapply the parity principle, Skolrood ruled. Two other justices concurred.

Kim’s appeal was dismissed.


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