Undercover police officer testifies about process of gaining trust among dealers

Const. B.J. Smith testifies at Jason Yeo's drug trafficking trial as Crown wraps up case

Published on January 29, 2014
Jason Yeo

The Crown called its final witness Wednesday in the trial of a Charlottetown man charged with trafficking in cocaine.

Jason Norman Yeo is alleged to have been a party to the sale of cocaine to an undercover police officer in May of 2012.

The Crown contends that Yeo aided and abetted Chase James Roper in the sale of that cocaine.

Testifying for the Crown Wednesday was Const. B.J. Smith, the undercover operative who made the drug purchase leading to the charges against Yeo and Roper.

Smith testified he purchased cocaine on several occasions on the instructions of his RCMP superiors.

In response to questions from Crown counsel Scott Barry, Smith said his primary contacts within the drug trade on P.E.I. were Derry Bird and Chase Roper.

A good part of Smith's testimony focused on a series of messages that flowed between himself and Roper on May 9, 2012.

The purpose of those messages was to set up a drug buy for approximately $500 worth of cocaine.

Smith and Roper eventually agreed to meet in the parking lot of the Irving service station on St. Peter's Road.

Smith said a car carrying Roper and Yeo pulled up next to him and parked. Yeo was driving. Smith got into their vehicle, sitting behind Yeo.

Almost immediately Roper passed the cocaine to Smith and Smith passed the money to Roper.

Smith testified that when that transaction was completed he told Roper and Yeo he had a friend with some marijuana he wanted to get rid of, but he was only selling that marijuana in five-pound allotments.

Pressed for further information, Smith told them the marijuana was 'B.C. bud' from British Columbia and that the quality was high. He also quoted a price.

Questioned as to whether he might be interested in any, Yeo indicated he might be interested in 25 pounds.

Smith said what happened next caught him by surprise.

After saying that he meant no disrespect, Yeo asked Smith to open his jacket because he wanted to make sure he was not wearing a wire.

Smith opened his jacket and lifted his shirt to show he was not.

After seeing there was no wire Yeo apologized for asking.

In the brief discussion that followed Yeo told Smith that he was just driving Roper around.

Yeo also indicated that he was not involved in drugs anymore.

Smith said no further drug purchases were made from either Roper or Bird.

He said he tried to contact Bird a couple of times but without success.

When Smith did make contact with him, Bird told him that he thought he (Smith) might be a UC (under cover).

During cross-examination Smith was asked by defence counsel Mitchell MacLeod if Yeo was present at any other drug buys.

Smith said he was not.

He reiterated that Roper and Bird were his primary contacts and that he'd also had contact with Micah MacDougall.

Smith was also questioned about the process of building trust within the drug community before being in a position where he could purchase drugs.

He spoke of developing friendships with certain people, people who would later vouch for him.

Asked whether his work ever required him to use illegal drugs or commit any illegal acts, Smith said no.

MacLeod asked Smith whether he had ever received a text message from Yeo or engaged in a cell phone conversation with Yeo.

Smith said he had not.

He said he met Yeo one more time after May 9, at a pharmacy.

On that occasion Smith asked Yeo why he couldn't get a hold of Roper.

Yeo told him Roper must be paranoid.

Smith suggested he might like to talk to Yeo in the future.

Yeo's response was that he was not hooking anyone up any more.

The trial will resume before Supreme Court Justice Wayne Cheverie Thursday morning.

At that time MacLeod will indicate whether he intends to call any witnesses for the defence.