A Greater Victoria couple who ran clandestine drug labs in North Saanich and Shawnigan Lake has pleaded guilty to producing and selling anabolic steroids.
“Your conduct was outrageous and it was dangerous,” Justice Geoff Gaul said as he sentenced Meagan Breanna Blake and her partner Christopher Hyland in B.C. Supreme Court.
“You were chefs cooking up a serious cocktail of dangerous substances in a relatively sophisticated laboratory operation,” Gaul said.
“You then marketed these substances under a fictitious name using professional looking labels for profit. … Some, if not most, of those who purchased these substances from you had no idea whatsoever that Serivek Pharmaceuticals was a clandestine laboratory operation being run by two young adults.”
At the sentencing hearing last week, federal prosecutor Baljiner Girn told the court that Sidney-North Saanich RCMP started investigating a drug lab in an outbuilding rented by Blake on Quatsino Drive in North Saanich in December 2015.
They discovered that Canadian Border Service Agency agents had intercepted packages addressed to C. Hyland from Hong Kong containing anabolic steroids, Viagra, Cialis, Tamoxifen and GBL, which can be used to make the “date rape drug” GBH, according to a lengthy agreed statement of facts.
On March 10, 2016, armed with a general warrant, officers secretly entered the outbuilding and found two pill presses and an industrial powder mixer. The officers found labels with the name “Serivek Pharmaceuticals” and several pages of handwritten notes showing calculations of pills, and pill bottles, the statement said.
The officers took liquid and powder samples, which were analyzed by Health Canada and found to be GHB, three forms of anabolic steroids, Cialis, Viagra and Tamoxifen.
On May 26, officers again entered the lab and took samples of what turned out to be GBL, Letrozole (a cancer drug), and an anabolic steroid.
When officers made a third covert entry into the building on June 28, the lab was gone.
The next day, police saw Hyland leave a home on Ravenhill Drive in Shawnigan Lake with a large jerry can, which he placed near a car owned by another man, James Rempel. Hyland, Rempel and Blake got in the car.
Soon after, they were arrested by the Saanich police street crime section.
Officers found two 25-litre jerry cans filled with GHB and two water bottles of GBL. There was also a pH test kit in a bin on the back seat.
Police searched the Ravenhill home and found a lab, two pill presses and pills. An industrial power mixer was in the garage near canisters of raw anabolic steroids.
They also found vials of liquid anabolic steroids labelled Serivek Pharmaceuticals, three jugs of GBL and three kilograms of Viagra. In the kitchen, police found a large cooking pot with remnants of GHB.
According to the agreed statement of facts, the total volume of GBL seized was 75 litres.
“This volume of GBL converted to GHB would result in the production of 622 litres of GHB or 124,500 individual doses,” Girn told the court.
The street value would be more than $600,000, she said.
The total approximate value of the anabolic steroids and pharmaceuticals was $45,248.
Blake, 28, a former University of Victoria biology student, pleaded guilty to three counts of producing various anabolic steroids and three counts of possession of anabolic steroids for the purpose of trafficking.
Gaul accepted a joint submission and handed Blake an 18-month conditional jail sentence, 100 hours of community service and a $10,000 fine.
Hyland, 28, pleaded guilty to the same six counts, plus unlawfully producing GHB, commonly known as the date rape drug, unlawful possession of GHB for the purpose of trafficking, and unlawfully transporting GBL, a substance used to manufacture GHB.
The offences took place in the spring of 2016 when he was on probation.
Hyland, who studied philosophy at UVic, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $10,000.
Since their arrest in 2016, both have made great strides in turning their lives around, Gaul said. He accepted that they recognized the seriousness of their actions and were remorseful.
Blake’s lawyer, Richard Neary, said his client had no criminal record.
She won numerous medals in equestrian events and has worked since the age of 15.
After her arrest, Blake immediately found work, Neary said. Her plan is to work as a dog groomer.
“She has impressed people with her work ethic and her dedication to her job. She’s someone people admire for her strong moral compass,” he said.
Defence lawyer Brad Hickford said Hyland has supported himself since the age of 14.
“In many ways, he was essentially living on the street at 14,” he said.
Around the age of 16, he started going to the gym and hanging around with people doing steroids. “It became part of his culture.”
Hyland worked as a security guard and a doorman while in university.
He is two credits short of his degree and plans to complete that, Hickford said.
Rempel was charged under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act with unlawfully transporting GBL.
He was given an absolute discharge and ordered to pay a $1,000 victim fine surcharge.