Accused in Operation Clean Sweep released from custody

Ryan Ross
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Sebastien Ayangma, 22, facing four charges of trafficking cocaine

About 40 people were arrested during Operation Clean Sweep drug raids Jan. 30.

A Charlottetown man who was arrested as part of a recent drug investigation known as Operation Clean Sweep won't be in custody while he waits for his case to go through the courts.

Sebastien Ayangma, 22, appeared before justice of the peace Charles Thompson in P.E.I. Supreme Court Tuesday for a show cause hearing to determine if he should be kept in custody until his case is dealt with.

Ayangma is facing four charges of trafficking cocaine after he allegedly sold the drugs to someone working with the police.

Thompson released Ayangma on an undertaking with several conditions, including that he remain in P.E.I. and report to the Charlottetown police every Friday.

During the hearing, federal Crown attorney Scott Barry argued Ayangma should remain in custody and he detailed some of the allegations against Ayangma.

Barry said Ayangma was part of one of the groups the Charlottetown police investigated as part of Operation Clean Sweep, which involved the arrest of almost 40 people.

Charlottetown police also seized more than $400,000 worth of drugs during searches last week.

Barry said Ayangma communicated with a police agent through Facebook about three separate drug deals involving the agent buying cocaine.

During a fourth deal, the agent allegedly bought cocaine from Ayangma through a third party.

In total, Barry said the agent bought 29.5 grams of cocaine from Ayangma for $3,100.

Ayangma has a previous criminal record that includes violations of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, probation breaches and assaults.

Barry said the probation breaches suggested the court should be skeptical about whether or not Ayangma would abide by conditions if he were released.

The four charges against Ayangma carry maximum penalties of life in prison.

Barry said the drugs allegedly sold to the agent suggested they were transferred to a street level dealer for later sale and the source of the drugs was potentially still out there.

Defence lawyer Brendan Hubley argued the four charges against Ayangma were all because the police agent pressured him.

If the agent hadn't sought him out then Ayangma wouldn't have been involved in the deals because he wasn't in the drug dealing business, Hubley said.

"It wasn't his source of income."

Hubley said Ayangma turned himself in to police despite knowing he would be detained for a show cause hearing and he has always attended his prior court dates.

In releasing Ayangma until his case is dealt with, Thompson said there was no evidence he would be a flight risk.

Ayangma is scheduled to appear in court again Feb. 26.

Charlottetown police are also investigating a disturbance involving one of Ayangma's family members and a Guardian journalist outside the courthouse after the hearing.

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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