In 2015, Inspector David Astephen received an urgent text message from drug-dealer, Mike Kanasevich, informing him of a “dirty cop.”
The dirty cop was former Nova Scotia Mountie Sgt. Craig Burnett who today was given a 10 year prison sentence.
According to CTV News, Burnett was found guilty of the theft of a total of 10 kilogrammes of cocaine from an evidence locker. From the sale of the cocaine, Burnett earned 100,000 from its sale which he used to pay off debt and to buy a $17,000 motorcycle.
CTV reporter Natasha Pace commented that “the courtroom was packed” for Burnett’s appearance.
In today’s decision, Justice James Chipman said the cocaine passed from Burnett to his friend and businessman, Scott Rowlings. The cocaine was sold by Kanasevich.
Both of Burnett’s accomplices would become informants for the RCMP, and were granted immunity by the court. Kanasevich was given a substantial reward of $200,000 and Rowlings had his court fees covered.
Burnett’s trial lasted 21 days. The title of the intensive operation orchestrated to gather evidence against him was “Operation Handshake.”
With all the court’s proceedings considered, Chipman concluded Burnett “was able to do this because of his intimate knowledge of the shipment in question, coupled with his understanding of the exhibit storage deficiencies … at the RCMP Oxford Street headquarters.”
Burnett is believed to have been motivated by a difficult divorce, prior to the crime, which left him in need of money.
“[He] took on the matrimonial debt in order to preserve his pension. As a single father to two children, then about 13 and 11, there would have been financial challenges living as he did on his sergeant’s salary,” said justice Chipman.
Despite Burnett’s sympathetic case, he was convicted beyond a reasonable doubt of “theft over $5,000, trafficking cocaine, laundering the proceeds of crime, obstructing police, fabricating evidence and two counts of breach of trust.”