RCMP officer sentenced to 18 months in jail for stealing pills from evidence room

Ryan Ross
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Scales of justice

An RCMP officer who stole more than 300 pills from an evidence room in Montague was sentenced Thursday to serve 18 months in jail.

Blair Ross, who served with the RCMP for about 25 years, appeared before Justice Gordon Campbell in P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown after previously pleading guilty to breach of trust, theft over $5,000 and unlawful possession of drugs.

The sentence came after a joint recommendation from the Crown and defence that included two years of probation after Ross's release from jail.

Before hearing the sentence, Ross addressed the court, at which time he apologized to his family and other members of the RCMP for the embarrassment he caused the organization.

"I'm truly, truly sorry," he said.

Ross then sat down and cried.

During the proceedings, the court heard that in May, 2013, the RCMP's major crimes unit was contacted after problems were found with evidence in the Montague detachment's evidence locker.

One of the officers at the detachment found that prescription pills that were in evidence were missing.

When other officers searched the room for the drugs they noticed other problems, including loose pills in boxes and evidence bags that were opened with pills missing.

A further search found that most of the items in evidence were accounted for, but morphine, oxycodone, Percocet and hydromorphone pills were missing from several files.

Ross later gave a statement in which he admitted to replacing some pills with generic Aspirin, while on another file he destroyed exhibits to cover up his theft.

In total, more than 300 pills were unaccounted for and Ross eventually pleaded guilty to the charges against him.

Ross was arrested on May 31, 2013 and gave a statement a few days later, at which time he said he had severe back pain, but the prescription painkillers he was taking weren't sufficient while he was at work wearing his gun belt.

He told the investigators he was afraid that if he asked for a higher prescription the RCMP would find out and he might be put on restricted duty.

Throughout most of the court proceedings Ross sat with his head down, but when it came time to rise he struggled to his feet and walked with a noticeable limp when he later circled the defence table.

In his statement to police, Ross said he originally started taking pills from completed investigations, but eventually took them from active investigations, although he only stole drugs that could be prescribed for pain.

Crown attorney John Diamond characterized Ross's actions as a serious breach of trust and said the thefts weren't impulsive.

Diamond said the integrity of police forces must be maintained at the highest level.

Defense lawyer Mitch MacLeod agreed Ross's actions were a breach of trust, but said the steps he took to cover the crime spoke to his desperation and not the sophistication of his actions.

MacLeod said Ross was genuinely remorseful and he was unlikely to reoffend.

About 20 people were in the courtroom for the sentencing and MacLeod said most of them were Ross's former colleagues who were there to support him.

In handing down the sentence, Campbell said Ross's activities damaged the police's reputation, which hurt everyone and by destroying evidence he put his fellow officers' work at risk.

Although he said Ross won't commit the same offence again, Campbell added that the sentence must be strong enough to remind people in positions of trust they will face penalties if they breach that trust.

Given Ross's guilty plea, the loss of his career and the difficulties a police officer would face as an inmate the sentence recommendation was within the acceptable range, Campbell said.

He then sentenced Ross to 18 months in jail for the breach of trust, one year for theft over $5,000 and one year for unlawful possession of the drugs, all to be served concurrently.

Along with the jail time Ross will be on probation for two years upon his release and will have to pay $300 to the victims of crime fund.

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • pablo escobar
    February 08, 2014 - 02:42

    There sure is an awful lot of people jumping at the chance to defend this guy and his sob story compared to the recent victims of the clean sweep operation, pretty disgusting really, I wonder how busy our police force would even be if these drugs were regulated the same way alcohol is, as they should be, with perhaps the exception of painkillers, simply because they seem to be the one that turns regular people into addicts. of course that will never happen though because drugs are the DEVIL, blah blah blah coming from people with little to no perception of the world as it is. Oh well maybe one day people will come to their senses. Until then the pigs will continue to entrap these poor souls that paid for their shit and take their pick from the stash. imagine if our country had all the funding back that's been wasted on the "drug war" over the past 50 years, we would have no shortage of addictions treatment centers, people could be open about their use without having to be ashamed or bashed by ignorant people, as a whole society would function much, much better... why is it that nobody catches on to this? How many police officers have came forth in north America nowadays and said this themselves? that the "drug war" is absolutely pointless... more then enough that maybe people should start listening,

  • Police Officers are only human
    February 07, 2014 - 08:29

    Ross is not the first professional to appear before the PEI courts ..there have been Doctors ,lawyers ,accountants ,financial planners,engineers,teachers, social workers ,counselors you name it..guess what folks they are all human beings who due to circumstances made bad decisions....we all make them somewhere along the line.He just happens to be a member of a pretty esteemed organization that prides itself on the way they do their jobs and 98.7 % of them are doing that as I write. along with 56,000 municipal police officers in this great country...a job many of you could or never will do. It has been described as routine to very unpleasant at times,demanding and out of the ordinary....your dealing with other human beings......from the docile to the pyscopath...His 25 years service to his country may be tarnished but it is not to be forgotten...The long term results of his deeds have lead to the loss of an occupation and career, his reputation has been dented and a loss of respect by his former peer group.Let s hope HE and anybody else out there dealing with an addiction or a mental health issue caused by stress or exposure to traumatic incidents get the help they need.......no one is cast aside especially those who have served their country in some capacity....we can all learn from this ..not sit back and be hollier than thou ,like a cat chewing bubble gum of a thistle,this can happen to anybody.

    • Excuse Me?
      February 07, 2014 - 10:43

      You are obviously a member of the police force yourself. Do you have the same level of compassion for the other criminals? If you do, you are in the minority. And for the record, 25 years on the force should mean he is held to a higher standard not be treated like a victim when he breaks law. The kind of attitude you are demonstrating explains why we end up with corruption within the police. Why is it when anyone else steals and uses drugs it is a criminal offence but if it is a police officer it is as you say simply a "bad decision".

    • Regular Joe
      Regular Joe
      February 07, 2014 - 11:33

      Yes they have a shitty job but this was a career choice not forced on them . There is no other way of seeing this other then double standards regarding , how justice is served for some compared too others . This was not their first offense yet they were suspended with pay until they investigated the charges . An Investigation that was stalled until they got their full retirement time in I might add . Didn't see any of those people in the clean sweep you refer too being allowed such privileges . They were taken to jail do not pass go do not collect your pay . What did this officer get ,he got to collect his pay ,he gets to collect a full pension plus perks . No there is no double stranded here . As we seen from the recent drug bust and the way these people were handled . I'm not condoning either parties actions but two tier justice is hardly justified in this case . I could see it if they had an unblemished record but they didn't .

  • Double Standard
    February 07, 2014 - 08:14

    This whole comments section is rather interesting. I think all of the addicts/dealers who got arrested lately should get a few of their friends to come on here and make multiple posts under different names saying what a great people they are. Victims no less. This guy sent people to jail for using drugs and then stole their drugs and used them himself. I think some of the people commenting here should go back to the story about operation clean sweep and show an outpouring of sympathy for those people. At least those people paid for their drugs and didn't send others to jail for doing the same thing. Just to be clear I am in no way being supportive of the others just making note of the double standard. I am sure the others had a great sob story as well.

  • caringgal
    February 07, 2014 - 08:09

    I feel great sympathy for this RCMP officer.He is a fine young man who has a drug problem,and needs treatment,not a jail sentence.Sending him to jail is an injustice,as he will be incarcerated with real criminals. We have a serious drug problem on PEI,and should be coming down hard on the suppliers,and helping those with addictions to get better.This officer only hurt himself,and didn't use the drugs for sale value.Shame on the courts for inflicting prison instead of medical help.

    • huh?
      February 07, 2014 - 09:06

      Fine young officer? He is retired! You don't know what you are talking about!

  • candrayo
    February 07, 2014 - 00:57

    I imagine most….if not ALL Officers of the law suffer from some form of PTSD. Some take it out the people…some take it out on themselves…and most…do both!!!

  • Get the facts straight before you open your mouth
    February 06, 2014 - 15:17

    I always find it amusing when people start rambling about things they don't know. First of all, if you don't know what you're talking about, than you shouldn't be talking about it. Grow up people, there's no need to be childish about it just because you're sitting behind a computer typing and not in front of the person. Mr. Ross had an injury that was caused while he was on duty as an RCMP officer. He was on pain medication because of that, because while he was serving this country, and gave 25 years of his life serving it to protect people like you, and he got injured. Did he do something wrong, yes. But do you need to smear his name in the mud, no. He worked all over this country, dedicating his life to 'serve and protect' the public. He has children, who don't need to hear you rambling about things that you don't know what you're talking about. He did do something wrong, but he has taken responsibility for it. And he has now been sentenced a punishment because of his mistake. He no longer works for the RCMP... so those people like "Fed up" saying 'oh pleeeeeeeease make sure he gets full pay while he is in jail...." maybe you should check yourself before you start talking about something you don't know. He doesn't work for the RCMP anymore. The man has gone through enough, and now has to spend 18 months in jail for his punishment which he deserves because of the crime commited. Doesn't anyone have any compassion anymore? jeez people, we are all just human. And we all make mistakes. I want to let the Ross family know our thoughts & prayers are with you all at this time.

    • Eve Marsals
      February 06, 2014 - 16:28

      Perhaps you should check yourself and save your indignation for someone who cares. This man was in a position of trust and abused the system and his position. Who's to say this was not a long term problem., and just the first time he was caught? He broke the law and like all of us must face the music. I have terminal cancer does that give me the right to steal some pain killers from the pharmacy? Your logic is flawed and offensive.

  • David
    February 06, 2014 - 14:44

    I am not huge fan of the cops but really he stole 300 pills and got 18 months and the girl who stole $57,000 from the students at Holland College got ONLY 7 MONTHS. They both done pretty much exactly the same thing and yet because he was an RCMP officer he gets 18 months and she gets 7 months. There is something wrong here as they were both in positions of trust and the girl at Holland College even more so because she was scamming students. The problem here is this sentence was rather harsh just because he was a police officer hardly fair if you ask me. I actually hope he appeals it and the Crown if they are any good at all should be appealing the sentence the girl from Holland College received.

  • Fed up
    February 06, 2014 - 14:30

    Not only did he just get a slap on the wrist, he stole evidence....so ones who were caught selling those drugs "in the evidence room" got away totally free! They can't be charged because this drug addicted RCMP STOLE the evidence! As "dick" says....oh pleeeease make sure he gets full pay while he is in jail.....

  • Regular Joe
    Regular Joe
    February 06, 2014 - 14:05

    What a joke the justice system is becoming on this island . I have to say there must be some pretty big favors owed on this island ,to justify a lot of these sentences being handed out the last couple years . With the majority of the light sentences handed down by one soft touch judge . If this was a local of the street they would have made a trip to the big house . This guy has a record that was buried once already so they could keep their job an now this . Who says there is not two standards of justice . Addiction or not anyone else would not have got off so easy .

  • Addictions
    February 06, 2014 - 13:39

    I ant no fan of the law that for shure but that should show everyone that anyone can become addicted no matter who you are or where you come from I feel bad that it has taken his job because if all addicts lost there jobs it would be a sad place people need to shack there heads cause it could be one of your own kids someday and you willnt want to see this happen to them

    • teacher
      February 06, 2014 - 19:43

      Learn to spell, then your comments might be taken seriously.

  • Me
    February 06, 2014 - 13:29

    #prohibitionfail

  • doreen
    February 06, 2014 - 13:21

    Everybody makes mistakes, don't matter what your title is.

  • PEI RESIDANT
    February 06, 2014 - 12:52

    Everyone is human Doctors Nurses RCMP etc we all make mistakes .Hopefully they will provide more help for addictions It just shows we have a big problem here on this Island .If you got nothing nice to say just say nothing

  • sad-day
    February 06, 2014 - 12:16

    It is truly a sad state of affairs when even the police! The ones who are suppose to be trusted with our lives! Our safety! And are suppose to help keep pills off the streets, are now stealing them, & not just stealing them, but stealing them from the POLICE! As if they wouldnt find out! What on earth was he thinking?! Did he really think he could get away with that?? C'mon now! Its no wonder people have little faith or trust in our PEI police force! Ha, its a joke! Pretty soon PEI is going to be known as a "party destination, all the booze, drugs/pills you could want!"

    • Ugh
      February 06, 2014 - 14:14

      What was he thinking? I'm sure he was thinking the same way any other addict would and that's not thinking! All you can think of is how you are going to get your next fix, or u are that sick you don't care if someone catches you later you will deal with it then. Addiction is a very strong disease and unless you have walked in a addicts shoes you shouldn't judge, and I thought only one guy can judge us but that's besides the point! Just because he is a RCMP officer doesn't mean his addiction is any different then anyone else and that he should have controlled it because trust me it doesn't matter if u r a doctor, lawyer, or a RCMP officer addiction does the same to all of us, and unfortunately some addicts loose the battle sooner then others. So why do addicts comitt robberies and steal knowing that they are going to get caught? Because they live for the next fix so they won't be sick and can function in society. the addict will do whatever it takes to feel better as it is the worst sickness I've ever felt. Being sober now I look back at things I have done and think what the hell was I thinking??? And I can remember saying to myself I'll deal with it later because I was sick at the time and I could only think of one thing and it was getting that pill. Anyways my point is unless you know what addiction feels like you have no clue how powerful it is and how quickly you loose control and it takes over. I can only imagine how that RCMP officer feels because even tho we are addicts we still have a conscious and when we get sober we have to deal and live with what we done, and all the people we have hurt. What he did was wrong and he is doing his time and didn't run from it! So instead of posting nasty comments judging and running ppl with the disease of addiction down maybe try googling it and educating yourself on it. If everyone worked together we could help the next generation, and maybe they will think twice before picking up. Sticking together is going to get us way further then fighting and arguing over who is right and who is wrong, who should have done this, who should have done that. PEI is my home, and a beautiful place and I hope that a change is in the very near future.

    • candrayo
      February 06, 2014 - 17:46

      A Police Officer is human…..and he works in a HIGH STRESS job…..I am surprised we don't hear more about how RCMP officers are suffering personally for their chosen line of work. It can not be easy when you are expected to be superhuman(like 1 officer fixing a problem in a school that parents are unable to attend to themselves for whatever reason)……and be unaffected at the atrocities you see daily. I am sure a good percentage of them have been affected…how much….well I can only imagine after experiencing the Military….but I bet THEY ALL experience personal difficulties in one form or another. They work in an institution…..essentially if you don't know their world…you won't get it………!!!!

  • dick
    February 06, 2014 - 11:35

    Please continue to pay him his salary while he is serving time just like the last 6 months while he was suspended with pay.

    • Fyi
      February 06, 2014 - 14:49

      Reading comprehension 101. He is retired - no salary.