Courts

Drug dealer wanted revenge on RCMP officer accused of trafficking

Witness says he sold 10 kilograms of cocaine for defendant

A key informant in the drug trial of a former RCMP officer testified Wednesday he tipped off police because he was angry over a bad business deal.

Michael Kanasevich told the court he sold cocaine for a partner of Craig Robert Burnett, who was then an officer with the RCMP. Kanasevich testfied he originally told police about the cocaine, but later regretted making the call. He only agreed to testify when he was offered payment.

Burnett, 51, has pleaded not guilty to seven charges relating to drug trafficking. The now retired RCMP officer is accused of stealing 10 kilograms of cocaine from an exhibit locker between 2010 and 2011.

Kanasevich said he worked with Scott Rowlings selling the cocaine. Kanasevich said he first worked with Rowlings as a teen and that they remained good friends as adults. The two once flew to London, England, to pursue an opportunity to import fancy candles to Canada.

Rowlings was a close friend of Burnett, according to previous testimony.

The business deal that ultimately led Kanasevich to call the police was a partnership between Rowlings, Burnett and others to launch a medical marijuana company, Cannsource, he told the court.

Kanasevich said he was upset because Rowlings cut him out of the business, even though Kanasevich was the one with marijuana expertise. He said he contacted the police because he wanted to destroy Cannsource.

The company did not make it past the application stage and was never licensed by the government.

As mentioned, Kanasevich quickly regretted calling the police.

“In the back of my mind, I was just hoping it would go away,” he testified Wednesday.

Kanasevich also testified he distributed Rowlings’ cocaine to one specific street dealer and he sold it for about $40 a gram.  Kanasevich said Burnett took the first share of the three-way split. Kanasevich said Rowlings told him that Burnett did not want to be involved in the distribution.

Kanasevich said he was reluctant to deal with the police because he did not want to be thought of as a “rat,” but always ended up complying with police requests. He told the court that police offered him $150,000, which is what convinced him to testify.

Rowlings is expected to take the stand later in the trial.

Burnett faces six Criminal Code offences and one offence under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act. The charges include two different breaches of trust, stealing cocaine with a value exceeding $5,000, trafficking a substance, transfer of property that was a result of an offence, obstructing a police officer by counselling a witness to lie and intent to mislead.

The judge-only trial is being heard by Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice James L. Chipman. It is expected to last 23 days.

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