Cocaine plot appeal denied

For the second time, a man convicted of smuggling 97 kilos of cocaine into Kelowna from Argentina had his appeal denied.

In 2014, Clifford Montgomery was sentenced to 14 years in jail for conspiracy to import and traffic cocaine after he and two others were busted in 2010.

Montgomery, Salvador Ascencio-Chavez and Tariq Aslam were involved in the plot to import a large fruit grinder to the Okanagan, with the drugs stashed inside.

On Sept. 22, 2010, Vancouver customs officials discovered the cocaine and replaced the drugs with a placebo, before an officer, posing as a delivery driver, brought the machine to Kelowna.

Montgomery was arrested on Oct. 4 in West Kelowna, while Ascencio-Chavez and Aslam were arrested nine days later in California.

Earlier this month, Montgomery appealed his sentence, arguing the sentencing judge erred by equating Montgomery's lack of remorse with a poor chance of rehabilitation and imposing a longer sentence on Montgomery than the co-accused.

Justice David Harris disagreed, highlighting Montgomery's role in planning.

“The judge emphasized that Mr. Montgomery was in a senior role on the Canadian side of the importation and a senior and central figure in respect of the planned trafficking,” Harris wrote in his decision.

While the appeal was denied, Harris did agree to amend Montgomery's lifetime firearm prohibition to a 10-year ban.

In 2016, the three men involved appealed their convictions, based on a wiretap and search of Montgomery's home they claimed was illegal, among other issues. That appeal was also dismissed. 

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