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Convicted Maple Ridge drug trafficker loses appeal

Court of appeal rejects argument police misled judge who issued search warrant
Statue of Lady Justice at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (File photo)

A Maple Ridge woman who was convicted of possessing illicit drugs for trafficking has lost her appeal.

The court of appeal ruled that a search of Amber Holly Kristeen Bridgen’s residence was legal, and her conviction will stand.

She was found guilty on four counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, and in March of 2021 sentenced to four years and three months in jail.

Bridgen appealed, challenging a search of her residence, saying police had misled the judge who granted a search warrant. The legality of the search was challenged in part on the basis police had failed to inform the judge there were two residences in the building at the address named in the warrant, which was in the 22000 block of 117th Avenue.

Three justices heard the appeal, and on Dec. 21 dismissed it, ruling police had suspected there were two residences in the house, but were not certain until they executed the search. Only Bridgen’s residence was searched, the judge was not misled, and Bridgen’s rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms had not been breached, the appeal judges ruled.

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The facts of the case show that in April of 2016, a Ridge Meadows RCMP constable received information from two informants that someone named Amber was supplying street-level drug dealers with fentanyl and crystal methamphetamine. They identified her black Jeep, where she lived, and where she walked her pit bull.

Between Jan. 14 and April 7 of 2016 police surveillance watched Bridgen on 10 separate days, observing meetings with people in her vehicle and on foot. She met with a man who was well known for property crime offences and drug trafficking. On April 7, that man was observed leaving her residence, and police arrested him for prohibited driving two blocks away. He was found to have 116 grams of crystal meth, 40 grams of fentanyl, $4,150 in cash and a scale. The drugs had a street value of approximately $20,000.

On April 14, Bridgen was arrested siting in her vehicle in a store parking lot. She was found to have baggies of fentanyl and methamphetamine, and about $900 cash.

A subsequent search of her rented residence found 52 grams of fentanyl, 28 grams of meth, 18 grams of cocaine and other drugs for a total of 102 grams of controlled substances. Police also found almost $7,700 in cash, scales, packing materials, and “score sheets” recording the names of people indebted for drugs. The street value of the narcotics was between $12,400 and $15,500.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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