A chance encounter with police in rural Cowichan in 2016 led to drug trafficking charges for a North Island man. (Citizen file)

A chance encounter with police in rural Cowichan in 2016 led to drug trafficking charges for a North Island man. (Citizen file)

Absolute discharge for Cowichan grow house renter charged after chance encounter with police

A chance interaction on a rural Cowichan Valley road in December 2016 led to the discovery of an illegal marijuana grow operation and charges against a 28-year-old Vancouver Island man.

Called out to Clements Road in Sahtlam on Dec. 17, 2016 to deal with a pickup truck abandoned in a ditch, a North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP officer got to talking with Dennis Joseph Dicesare.

That interaction, court documents say, “permitted the police officer to detect the smell of vegetative marijuana or fresh marijuana,” on Dicesare.

The two men parted ways and while investigating the ditched pickup, the officer had cause to walk up the driveway from which Dicesare had driven away.

At that point, the Mountie noticed a strong smell of fresh marijuana. Further investigation ultimately resulted in the Feb. 23, 2018 execution of a search warrant, the revelation of a three-room grow operation in the carriage house where Dicesare lived, and Dicesare being arrested at gunpoint by officers, according to court documents.

Dicesare was given an absolute discharge during his sentencing on Dec. 17, 2018 following a guilty plea to the charge of unlawfully possessing a controlled substance in an amount not exceeding three kilograms for the purposes of trafficking. Charges of unlawfully producing a controlled substance were stayed.

In his reasons for sentence, Judge J.P MacCarthy cited Dicesare’s limited involvement with the growing operation and his belief that the production licence posted on the wall of the facility made it a lawful medicinal cannabis venture.

However, compliance with the licensing requirements was not being fulfilled, according to court documents, which rendered the grow-op illegal.

Judge MacCarthy said Dicesare had been away from his North Island home and was living in the carriage house while he worked in the Cowichan Valley. He helped with the plants in exchange for a break in the rent.

“The fact that Mr. Dicesare is before the court without any criminal record and has been a hardworking and contributing member of society are certainly mitigating factors that are at play,” MacCarthy said. “He is also an individual who can be considered youthful in nature, with a bright future in front of him.”

MacCarthy further said “I am satisfied on the various authorities that have been presented to me and on the present circumstances of this particular offender that an absolute discharge is warranted. In my mind, he is fully rehabilitated through his involvement in this criminal justice process. I am very confident that he will not be back before these courts on charges similar to this or, for that matter, any other criminal charges.”

An absolute discharge nullifies and criminal record Dicesare otherwise would have received.

Dicesare also made a $1,000 donation to the Cowichan Valley Basket Society as part of his sentencing.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley writer Jennifer Manuel will headlining YakFest on March 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Cowichan Valley writer to headline next YakFest on March 1

YakFest is a B.C.-based monthly women’s event held online via Zoom

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour early on Saturday, Feb. 27. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Tim Schewe
DriveSmart: Police Powers

By Tim Schewe If you are stopped by the police, just what… Continue reading

A COVID-19 exposure has been reported at Drinkwater Elementary School dating to Feb. 25. (Google Street View image)
COVID-19 exposure reported at Drinkwater Elementary

Possible exposures occurred on Thursday, Feb. 25

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read