Jumps bail before sentence

Just a week before he was scheduled to be sentenced, a man who was making fake prescription pills with an analogue of fentanyl in his West Kelowna shop appears to have jumped bail.

Leslie McCulloch and his girlfriend Rebekka Rae White were arrested March 2, 2016, after McCulloch's home and business on Auburn Road were raided by police after several months of investigation.

Police found more than 1,300 fake prescription pills, two industrial pill presses and more than eight kilograms of a powder believed to be drugs.

Eleven months later, McCulloch pleaded guilty to production of a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking. While he was initially denied bail, he was released following a plea to allow him to “get his affairs in order.”

Following the plea, an analysis of the seized substances found only four grams of acetylfentanyl, while the vast majority was caffeine and a binding agent.

Crown prosecutor Clarke Burnett said the purity of the seized drugs shouldn't impact the length of the sentence, and the Crown would still be seeking a sentence “north of 10 years.”

After the analysis came back, McCulloch applied to take back his guilty plea, but Justice Cathaline Heinrichs dismissed the application, noting the purity of the drugs has no bearing on McCulloch's guilt, but could affect sentencing.

On Monday, McCulloch was scheduled to appear in court, one week before his scheduled sentencing date, but he didn't show up. A B.C.-wide warrant for his arrest was issued, and he has yet to be apprehended. He is currently on the Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers' Most Wanted list.

The Crown had planned to drop charges against White, McCulloch's co-accused in the case, once McCulloch's sentencing was complete. It's unclear how McCulloch's failure to appear in court will impact White's charges. 

This isn't the first time McCulloch has been convicted of trafficking-related offences. In 2013, he was handed a 4.5-year sentence for possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. He was described as a “middleman who transported drugs for the Hells Angels.”

A year and a half after his conviction, he was released on “accelerated full parole,” but the raid on his business came just 20 months later.

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