“I want to work on being a better person,” convicted drug trafficker Horst Fransico Schirmer told a Victoria courtroom during his sentencing hearing Tuesday afternoon.
Crown is seeking a seven-year sentence for Schirmer’s crimes: five convictions of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Crown counsel Oren Bick said Schirmer is a high-level drug trafficker, sophisticated enough in his operation to use another person’s home to stash drugs.
Bick said Crown came to that conclusion based on the trial and conviction of Schirmer’s accomplice, John Turner, whose Qu’Appelle Street apartment was used as the stash house and who claimed Schirmer was the “principle” of the operation. Schirmer had been under surveillance by police, who said he was seen at the stash house numerous times, in what they described as behaviour consistent with that of a drug dealer.
Bick told the court that Schirmer was found to be in possession of one of only two keys to a large safe located within the Qu’Appelle residence. Within that safe, police located and seized various drugs including methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA, heroin and heroin mixed with fentanyl, along with several notebooks that contained score-sheets and a white envelope containing $1,000 in cash with the words ‘Attention, attorney trial retainer Donald McKay’ hand written on the outside.
Bick stated the total value of the drugs seized was between $68,600 to $89,200 and that the score-sheets found in the safe matched photocopies found in Schirmer’s bedroom at his house on Admirals road in Esquimalt. Bick also stated that police seized 827 grams of a cutting agent from Schirmer’s apartment along with two car jacks that had been modified to press substances.
According to Bick, aggravating factors of the case include Schirmer’s criminal history, the nature and quantity of the drugs seized and the sophistication of the crimes — citing the stash house as a method used by Schirmer to put distance between himself and the operation.
Schirmer was arrested Feb. 9 2017 and has been in custody for 694 days which have been credited at time and a half – totalling 34 months in jail.
Schirmer’s defence attorney Chris Johnson agreed the offenses were serious, but said seven years was too severe a punishment for his client, who he asked to have sentenced as a “mid-level trafficker.”
“There’s a doubt between being a mid-level and high-level trafficker here,” Johnson said. “And that doubt ought to work in Mr. Schirmer’s favour.”
Johnson’s argument was based partially in the ‘principle of totality’ which states that while sentences may be fit for each count, they are too harsh when applied consecutively.
Johnson described Schirmer’s “disorganized and transient childhood” which saw him allegedly abandoned in Brazil by his mother and displaced numerous times before arriving in Seattle at 15 years old, where he “started to associate with the wrong people” and became involved in drug use – moving to Victoria the same year, where he’s stayed since.
Schirmer had a chance to address the courtroom and said that if he can find schooling and better himself, then he might be able to “turn this around and become something different than what I am right now.”
“I want to apologize to the court and everybody else,” he added. “I want to work on being a better person.”
Schirmer is to be sentenced July 9.