Woman pleads guilty to illegal export of ephedrine

Published on August 20, 2014

Prince Edward Island provincial court

©Guardian photo

A P.E.I. woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in provincial court in Charlottetown to illegally exporting the drug ephedrine from Canada.

Kelly Lea MacKinnon entered the guilty plea before provincial court Judge Nancy Orr.

MacKinnon also pleaded guilty to a charge of failing toreport that she was exporting goods covered under the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act. The latter charge is laid under the Canada Customs Act.

Two other charges against MacKinnon were withdrawn by the Crown.

Both charges MacKinnon pleaded guilty to relate to ephedrine, identified as a class six drug under the Controlled Drug and Substance Act.

Orr has adjourned the passing of sentence in the case to Dec. 22. The longer than usual adjournment is required because MacKinnon’s defence counsel is involved in a murder trial in another province that is expected to last three months.

A pre-sentence report has been ordered by the court.

The Crown and defence counsel are expected to have an agreed statement of facts prepared for the court within two weeks.

Orr advised counsel that work on the pre-sentence report cannot properly begin until the probation officer preparing that report has the agreed statement of facts in hand.

The Canada Border Services Agency charged MacKinnon and her father, Barry James MacKinnon, of Upper Sackville, N.S., for allegedly selling more than three million ephedrine tablets to international customers.

The agency alleges the two sold the pills through more than 5,000 transactions in shipments to multiple countries as gifts and dietary supplements.

A licence is required to import or export ephedrine from Canada.

Ephedrine, which is used in some nasal decongestants, is also used recreationally by bodybuilders and for weight loss. It can also be used in the production of crystal meth.

The Canada Border Services Agency alleges most of the shipments went to the U.S.

Kelly MacKinnon’s case was originally before the courts in Nova Scotia but was moved to P.E.I. where she resides.