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Two years at home after guilty plea to drug-related charge

Jason Ray Sauka pleaded guilty in connection with a rash of charges laid in 2022 against five men following a drug trafficking investigation

A Cherry Creek resident who is also a Sun Peaks business owner will spend the next two years under a conditional sentence order after pleading guilty to possessing cocaine for the purposes of trafficking.

Jason Ray Sauka, 52 pleaded guilty in connection with a rash of charges laid in 2022 against five men following a drug trafficking investigation between Kamloops Mounties and New Westminster Police.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Doyle accepted a joint submission from Crown prosecutor Heather Pineo and defence lawyer Stanley Tessmer that will see Sauka serve time under 13 conditions. Those include that he remain at his home at all times for the first 18 months of the sentence, with exceptions for work and medical reasons. He must also refrain from consuming or possessing drugs and alcohol and complete 150 hours of community service. He will be under a curfew for the final six months of the sentence.

Court heard that on Aug. 13, 2020, Sauka was arrested in the 5000-block of the Trans-Canada Highway, where his vehicle was pulled over by police. Upon searching his vehicle, police found a one-kilogram brick of cocaine in a white plastic bag, 12 dime baggies of cocaine and more than $1,100 in cash.

Earlier in 2020, police began investigating the trafficking activities of Kamloops drug dealer Lawrence Lloyd Pooli and a New Westminster contact who was also associated with local drug runner Roberto Silio Lupi.

Sauka, Pineo said, was not the target of the drug investigation.

While conducting surveillance of Lupi on Aug. 13, 2020, police watched him meet with Sauka in the Costco parking lot in Kamloops after returning from New Westminster. Lupi left his vehicle with a small brown bag and entered the passenger seat of Sauka’s vehicle, where the two men inspected the contents of a white plastic bag. Lupi then left Sauka’s vehicle carrying a black backpack and the two men departed in their respective vehicles. Sauka was followed and arrested by police.

Court heard Sauka previously worked for the Ministry of Forests and currently owns the Blue Bird Market store at Sun Peaks, where he employs about a dozen people.

Sauka had no previous criminal record and committed no breaches while on bail.

Lupi was arrested on Sept. 4, 2020, while driving back to Kamloops from New Westminster. Police had been surveilling his activity for months and he has since pleaded guilty to two counts of possession for the purposes of trafficking. He will receive his sentence on Oct. 19.

Pooli was gunned down in August 2022 in a drive-by shooting along Ord Road in Brocklehurst. Police have yet to announce any arrests or charges in connection with his murder.

Two other people from Kamloops arrested and charged in connection to the drug investigation have finished their court appearances.

In April, David Jeffrey Tremblay received a sentence of six years in prison for possessing fentanyl for the purposes of trafficking and a term of three years, concurrent to the six-year sentence, for a prohibited firearms possession conviction, according to a spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. Tremblay was already serving time on separate drug charges and for a 2020 drive-by shooting along Willow Street, keeping him behind bars until the spring of 2024.

All charges against Rylee Laureen Bains were dropped by the Crown.