Yellowknife man convicted in furanyl fentanyl case

May 5, 2020

Yellowknife resident Darcy Oake, 25, has been found guilty of planning to sell a form of fentanyl he had ordered over the dark web using Bitcoin and encrypted software in 2016.

Earlier in August, a judge-only trial took place, where Oake had pleaded guilty to trafficking furanyl fentanyl, a synthetic and deadly derivative of the opioid drug. Subsequently, on March 11, Supreme Court Justice Shannon Smallwood found Oake guilty of drug possession for the purpose of trafficking, as well of illegal drug import into Canada. Moreover, Oake was found guilty of criminal negligence causing bodily harm after supplying a Yellowknife woman with mail-ordered furanyl fentanyl.

The woman, a friend of Oake’s, had suffered an overdose after he had supplied her the drug in exchange for her prescription tranquilisers. According to text messages used as evidence during the trial, the woman knew Oake had ordered 10 grams of furanyl fentanyl on the dark web, and had been pressuring him to let her try the drug.

Moreover, the woman had admitted being addicted to fentanyl and stated that she had passed out after snorting a line of the drug at Oake’s home. She had remained unconscious for more than 24 hours before being hospitalized.

Subsequently, Smallwood determined the woman’s consumption of furanyl fentanyl had significantly contributed to the bodily harm she had suffered, despite her eagerness to try the drug and having taken other drugs that day.  

During the trial, it became apparent that after receiving the parcel with the drug, Oake himself had snorted two lines, passed out while walking on the street and was hospitalized.

Therefore, Smallwood had concluded, “He knew there was a very real risk she could overdose… He knew this because he had overdosed 12 hours earlier.”

Oake was originally arrested and charged in November 2016, following an investigation of a chain of opioid overdoses in Yellowknife. After the drugs in his possession tested positive as furanyl fentanyl, the police had called in the RCMP’s Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) unit. CLEAR members, donning hazmat suits, secured and searched the Oake family property.

According to Oake, he thought the drug he had ordered online originated from a supplier within Canada. Smallwood stated that Oake may not have known the drug came from Asia upon placing the order, but that he did learn later that the package’s tracking numbers were associated with a tracking site in Hong Kong or China.

Currently, Oake is facing penitentiary time for his two convictions. However, Oake had instructed his lawyer to apply to stay the charges due to the amount of time (3.5 years) taken to receive the verdict, in part due to Oake changing lawyers throughout the legal process. So far, no date has been set for his hearing to stay the charges.