Caught selling deadly drugs

A downtown Kelowna drug dealer added a 47th and 48th conviction to his criminal record Wednesday after pleading guilty to two separate charges from last year.

The charges stem from two undercover RCMP investigations, the first occurring on July 8, 2017.

An undercover officer approached Stephan Rauner in City Park that afternoon and asked if he could buy heroin.

Rauner, who was picking up garbage, sold the officer .2 grams of heroin for $40 and told him it was “good sh*t,” before the pair fist bumped and the officer walked away.

Lab tests showed the drug contained both heroin and carfentanil, an extremely potent opioid that's 100 times stronger than fentanyl and used commercially to sedate elephants. 

Rauner wasn't arrested until Aug. 17, when he was charged with trafficking in a controlled substance, and then released on bail.

Four months later, while he was out on bail and prohibited from being in the downtown core, Rauner was busted again outside the downtown Kelowna's Cornerstone shelter on Leon Avenue.

At 2:45 p.m. on Dec. 14, an RCMP officer approached Rauner and bought $10 worth of methamphetamine, before buying another small amount of the same drug from him a few hours later.

During the second purchase, the officer overheard several people ask Rauner for “hard,” a street name for crack cocaine. In response, Rauner made a phone call and asked for “a ball” and some baking soda. A ball presumably refers to an “eight ball,” or an eighth of an ounce, of cocaine. Baking soda can be used in the process of turning powdered cocaine into smokable crack cocaine.

The following day, the same officer bought another .1 grams of meth from Rauner and witnessed him sell another man $50 worth of what appeared to be crack cocaine.

As is common in undercover investigations, Rauner again wasn't arrested until about a month later. He has remained in custody since.

The 43-year-old has a long record, with 46 prior convictions dating back to 1991, including two trafficking charges from 2008 and 2010 and a possession for the purpose of trafficking charge in 2004.

During sentencing submissions, Crown prosecutor Justin Dalton highlighted the particular harm that drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil have had on society in recent years. In 2017, 75 people in Kelowna died from illicit drug overdoses.

Due in part to the particularly deadly nature of carfentanil, the Crown is seeking a combined sentence of 54 months for the two charges.

Crown prosecutor Dalton finished his sentencing submissions Wednesday, while Rauner's defence will finish his submissions at a later date. The case will be back before the court on Dec. 10 to schedule the final sentencing date. 

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