Trial sheds light on Okanagan drug world

The jury of a kidnapping, unlawful confinement and assault trial got an inside look at the tribulations of life in the South Okanagan drug world.

The jury of a kidnapping, unlawful confinement and assault trial got an inside look at the tribulations of life in the South Okanagan drug world.

Drug stashes in the streets of Oliver, a home invasion by men threatening with a shotgun, paranoia causing people to bounce from home to home, addicted family members and beatings by upper-level drug dealers all came to light in the Penticton Supreme Court last week.

Nicolette Miller took the stand on Friday recounting the events of Feb. 28, 2009, a night where she started out partying with her partner and co-accused Leonard Thompson, her son and co-accused Andrew Miller and his girlfriend, who was not charged.

After running out of alcohol and crack, the group set out in Andrew’s Ford Explorer to meet alleged victim Frank Guenther, an admitted drug dealer, behind the Royal Bank in Oliver. On the way Nicolette said she received a phone call from a stranger inquiring about Guenther in which she replied she was going to meet him.

“Being high and drunk it wasn’t clicking into me. It didn’t dawn on me they were also looking for Frank,” said Nicolette.

She said Guenther didn’t have enough drugs to fill their need and had to see his distributor to reload. Nicolette said they told Guenther they could take him to meet the distributor.

“We never put Frank to the ground, and he willingly got in there (the vehicle),” testified Nicolette.

Guenther asked to borrow one of the group members cell phone because his battery died, and after making the call he told Andrew (the driver) to travel northbound and that he would be given another phone call for the final destination. Nicolette said they stopped at their ranch near Vaseux Lake and switched vehicles and Guenther willingly jumped in the truck.

A second call came into Nicolette’s cell phone as they neared the old game farm on Highway 97 just outside Penticton asking how her sister was doing. She previously told the court of her pregnant, crack-addicted, sister who dated a Kelowna drug dealer. Nicolette said through an associate of hers she met a man in Okanagan Falls and pleaded he do something to keep the dealer away from her sister.

According to Nicolette, she later found out a vehicle similar to Okanagan Falls man had pulled up at a Kelowna gas station where her sister and the boyfriend were at. Two men got out of the vehicle beat up the boyfriend and left the scene. The boyfriend was then arrested on a Canada-wide warrant.

Nicolette told the court puzzle pieces were slowly starting to fit into place that the person on the other end of her cell phone could be this very same man she pleaded with, but at the time she was high and was only thinking about getting another fix.

“I’m starting to get worried … my mind is rolling, not sure what to make of this information,” said Nicolette. “If I say turn the truck around and have Frank with me, I think they could come to my home looking for him.”

Nicolette admitted she and Thompson cuffed Guenther with an open hand a few times when he bad-mouthed them during the drive. Then at Pyramid Park Nicolette said she asked Guenther to take his jacket off because she was concerned he may have a weapon or even might have some crack on him that they could smoke. Guenther took all his clothes off except a T-shirt, and at this point another vehicle pulled up with two males in it.

“The male driving I recognize as the associate in OK Falls … at that point a light bulb went off in my head. I’m thinking I want to go home,” said Nicolette.

She said she saw Guenther get out of their vehicle on his own, and immediately the passenger in the vehicle that pulled up “flew at Frank.” She said they were asking where their money was to Guenther.

“I jumped in the truck and Lenny jumped in and I said let’s go, go,” said Nicolette. “I don’t want him (Guenther) in my truck because they are going to come looking for him through me.”

Nicolette said they drove off tossing Guenther’s clothing out the window and headed back to Oliver where they returned to the alley to look for the crack that Guenther had told them he tossed before he got in their vehicle.

“I was so shaken up that I didn’t know what the hell I got into. When you have an addition to crack cocaine it can be that important to you,” said Nicolette in response to defence counsel’s question about the group taking the time to go back to Oliver after all of this happened.

Closing arguments were delivered on Monday with the jury beginning its deliberations Tuesday afternoon.

 

Just Posted

Geordie Fife exits the dunk tank during 2017’s Discovery House Father’s Day festivities at Skaha Lake Park. The fundraiser helps raise awareness of the work done at the house and break down the stigma associated with addiction. (Western News File)
Discovery House Father’s Day fundraiser goes digital

The addiction recovery program will be rolling out videos ahead of the fundraiser

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
Five-storey building proposed for Penticton’s Front Street

It will be the second time the proposal will head to council

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from St. Eugene’s residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Most Read