Nearly four years after his first arrest, Josef Brodek was convicted of drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms and sentenced to 10 years. The total amount of drugs RCMP seized from Brodek amounts to enough potentially fatal doses for the entire population of Port Alberni, reads a statement from the Port Alberni detachment.
2019 was when RCMP first arrested Brodek and searched his residence, finding “significant amounts of drugs, three firearms and over $100,000 in cash.”
But despite a charge, he was permitted to be back on the streets. In 2020 another search warrant was conducted when 3,000 single uses of methamphetamine and a large amount of other drugs were seized, reads the statement. Then in 2022 he sold drugs to undercover police officers three times, and another search warrant was conducted when they located a “wide array of drugs.”
Overall, RCMP seized over $115,000 in cash, more than 13,000 individual doses of methamphetamine, 3,000 units of cocaine, nearly 2,600 units of GHB, and over 1,100 units of Fentanyl, with other pills and illicit drugs. Two more firearms were found alongside a wedding ring from a break and enter.
Constable Richard Johns said in an interview with Ha-Shilth-Sa that in a small community like Port Alberni, it is not often that they see controlled substances and cash at this amount.
“The amount of controlled drugs that were seized here is large enough to have provided a possible lethal dose to the entire population of Port Alberni,” Johns told Ha-Shilth-Sa.
“Once the search warrant would be conducted… all the items will be processed and samples will be taken from all the suspected drugs that would then be forwarded off to the lab to be processed and determined exactly what's in there,” he explained. “In that meantime, a person tends to be released into the community.”
Johns said that, in his experience, from the time of arrest to when lab results and reports from experts come in, it takes roughly a year for the matter to be before the courts.
In this case, Brodek was sentenced nearly four years after his first arrest.
Johns said that this is likely due to delays in the legal system and laboratory during the pandemic, though, from the start of the last investigation with Brodek in 2022, it took roughly a year before he was before the courts.
“Even if we place conditions onto someone… not to possess a controlled drug or a weapon,” continued Johns, “it tends to be that in these situations that they're already not following laws, they're not going to follow additional laws that are placed upon [them].”
“The way the court system is currently set up, though, is that we have to provide them with the opportunities in order to show the courts that they're able to abide by conditions that are placed upon them,” he added.
Johns said that in his opinion, with Josef Brodeck, it was clear to the courts that he could not continue living without” continuing to commit offenses.
“That's why Mr. Brodek got the sentence that he got,” he said, adding that “despite any slowdowns, or hiccups that might occur throughout other systems”, the RCMP are continuing to work to get illicit drugs off the street.
“And to provide a full report to Crown Counsel and make sure that people are held accountable for the toxins that they're putting into the community,” said Johns.
According to the Coroners Service report, in 2022 the Alberni-Clayoquot region death rate from illicit drugs was 80.9 per 100,000, nearly double the provincial rate. Since 2016, the death rate in the region has quadrupled from 18.6 per 100,000.
Les Doiron, vice-president of Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, said that given the impact that toxic drugs has had on the community, and the volume of narcotics, cash, and guns that Brodek was reported to have, he believes the sentence does not fit the severity of the crime.
“It seems like the judicial system is pretty lenient on these people,” said Doiron.
“It’s killing a lot of our people here on the West Coast,” he said. “There’s no question about that.”