Lead-footed West Kelowna drug trafficker gets four years in jail

Drug dealer jailed 4 years

A West Kelowna man who pleaded guilty to possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking and illegal possession of firearms has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Kyle Richard Gonek, who gained notoriety three years ago for posting photos and videos of himself driving at speeds over 280 km/h, was originally charged with five drug- and firearms-related offences in November 2021 but pleaded guilty to two. The three other charges were stayed.

In handing down the sentence Tuesday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Brad Smith said he was taking the guilty pleas into consideration as mitigating factors as well as Gonek's prior lack of criminal record.

He also noted that three years have passed since Gonek was charged and there have been no bail breaches in that time while he has taken steps to deal with his addiction to opioids.

“His rehabilitation efforts have been proactive, to Mr.Gonek’s credit,” said Smith.

In Kelowna court Tuesday, Smith also noted defence lawyer William Jessop’s description of Gonek as someone who went to school to become a pipeline inspector and should be able to find employment upon his release from jail.

The four-year sentence was a joint submission by the Crown and defence.

Gonek was arrested in 2020 after police set up surveillance on him in May and June of that year, following tips from confidential informants.

According to Crown lawyer Francois Lepine, Gonek was seen having 18 short-duration meetings in the driveway of his parents’ West Kelowna home — where he was living. Police described the meetings as consistent with drug trafficking.

Using warrants to search both his home on Deer Ridge Court in West Kelowna and the home of his girlfriend, on Sundance Drive, police found a backpack with a large quantity of drugs, including 102.7 grams of fentanyl, 24.6 grams of heroin and fentanyl, 11.7 grams of cocaine, 89.3 grams of crack cocaine, 118.5 grams of methamphetamine, a total of $5,790 in cash, drug packaging and a working scale at the Sundance Drive home.

At his home, police found a semi-automatic rifle and ammunition, as well as a working taser and empty baggies with “white powder” residue inside. In a trailer on the property, they found a shotgun as well as ammunition and two loaded and two unloaded ammunition magazines.

Gonek’s Cadillac CTS, the trailer and the cash were all seized and Smith ruled were to be forfeited as proceeds of crime. Gonek was not part of any organized crime ring, court heard.

Jessop said Gonek was introduced to opioids at the age of 11 by his father, who had rheumatoid arthritis and was addicted to them. He died in May 2020. Jessop said his client was taking opioids daily by the time he started high school.

Describing his client as a “functioning addict” during his working life, Jessop said Gonek worked in Alberta prior to the pandemic but following a downturn in the oil and gas industry returned to West Kelowna. He lost two jobs he had while living with his parents in West Kelowna as a result of his bosses becoming aware of news articles detailing his speeding and his video posting exploits. As a result, he turned to buying OxyContin on the streets.

After his father died, and recognizing his “downward spiral,” Gonek entered a recovery program at the OAT Clinic in Kelowna (part of the Kelowna Mental Health Centre), worked hard at his recovery and is now no longer addicted to opioids, said Jessop.

Following Smith passing the sentence, Gonek was allowed to hug his mother, sister and girlfriend, who were all in the gallery, before he was led away.

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