A man pending on multiple drug-related charges has been denied bail after he was allegedly caught in Winnipeg with more than $60,000 worth of methamphetamine and cocaine.
"We have a drug dealer who is continually breaching conditions by not just not following the conditions of the court, but getting substantively reinvolved and actually escalating his involvement," Crown attorney Christina Cheater told the Brandon provincial court on Thursday.
"As a member of the public, would you lose faith in the judicial system (if he is released)? I think that the answer is yes."
Alexander Mini is facing multiple charges, including possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of proceeds of a crime and possession of a prohibited weapon.
None of the charges have been proven in court and Mini is presumed innocent.
The charges stem from three incidents starting on Dec. 5, 2018, Cheater said, when Brandon police acted on information from a reliable source that a man was in possession of a firearm.
Police located the suspect at the City Centre Hotel and he was taken into custody, Cheater said, where a search revealed approximately seven grams of methamphetamine and a can of bear spray.
Officers also found $4,000 cash in his pocket and $385 in his wallet.
Then on June 9, 2019, police received a tip that a woman known to police was driving around Brandon in a silver BMW delivering methamphetamine, Cheater said.
Officers located the vehicle being driven by a man with a woman sitting in the passenger seat, who was the woman named in the confidential tip passed on to police.
A search of the vehicle revealed weapons, including knives, bear spray and a loaded CO2 revolver-style handgun, Cheater said, as well as a small amount of drugs, including crack-cocaine, drug paraphernalia and packaging materials.
A little more than a month later, Winnipeg police pulled over a vehicle after noticing the tint on the windows was too dark and that a man was driving despite the vehicle being registered to a woman, Cheater said.
After activating their emergency lights, officers noticed the man in the passenger seat moved a backpack into the backseat.
Mini was allegedly a passenger, Cheater said, and due to his release conditions, police searched the vehicle.
In the backpack, police found 718 grams of methamphetamine worth $48,900, approximately $16,000 worth of cocaine, and $2,500 worth of Percocets.
Mini’s identification was also allegedly found in the front pocket, Cheater said.
Defence lawyer Ryan Fawcett argued there were triable issues with each case that would need to be explored at trial, including the legitimacy of the search of the vehicle.
Mini also told Fawcett he believes police placed his identification in the backpack, Fawcett said.
After Mini’s arrest in June, Fawcett said the woman in the vehicle — who was the target of the arrest — told police she knew about the weapons in the vehicle because a friend of hers had left them there.
She also described herself as a drug user, Fawcett said.
"She is absolving Mr. Mini from any involvement in the possession of those drugs that were found, which were a minimal amount of drugs, quite frankly," Fawcett said.
Mini is not a candidate for release, Cheater said, arguing Mini has been given the benefit of release many times but has continued to breach substantively.
"It’s not a situation where he just can’t abide by conditions, he’s getting reinvolved in a substantive way because unfortunately when you lose $40,000 worth of somebody’s drugs, you have to make that money back somehow," Cheater said. "He is deeply entrenched in the lifestyle, this isn’t a street-level individual, this is someone who is higher up the food chain. ... This is how he lives, this is how he works and he’s going to continue to do that."
Fawcett suggested a bail plan that involved $10,000 cash for security as well as a plan for Mini to go straight from into a strict treatment plan.
"Although there are certainly serious accusations here, I would submit that there are issues that can be explored at the various hearings that are set up," Fawcett said. "Moreso I point to the strength of this bail plan that we’ve developed. I would suggest it’s one of the stronger plans this court has seen."
Ultimately, based on the circumstances of the offences and the escalation of the breaches, Judge Donovan Dvorak denied Mini bail.
Trials have been scheduled in Winnipeg and Brandon for some of Mini’s charges later this year, as well as a preliminary hearing.
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