Surveillance led to drug bust, judge told

Police tracking a prolific offender watched from an unmarked surveillance van as two men traded cash for drugs, a B.C. Supreme Court judge heard Wednesday.

James Kwasnica is charged with possession of crystal meth for the purpose of trafficking and possession of cocaine. He is also charged with possessing a "conducted-energy weapon," more commonly known as a Taser.

Kwasnica was arrested April 23, 2010, as police watched a truck owned by Steven Insua, a man who has long been on Kamloops RCMP's prolific offender list, the judge was told. Kwasnica was not considered a prolific offender.

Officers watched from behind the tinted windows of a blue passenger van as Kwasnica and Insua exchanged cash for small packages.

Sgt. Scott West said his experience as a street cop told him the two were doing a drug deal.

"(Insua) looked left, right and over top of my vehicle," said West. "It appeared to me, from my experience, he was checking to see if anyone was watching him at that juncture."

Kwasnica was arrested at the scene. He was found with the weapon, 6.3 grams of crystal meth and a small amount of cocaine. Insua was arrested later.

Kwasnica's lawyer is challenging the legality of the RCMP's arrest, suggesting his client's rights were violated. As well, a later statement the man gave to police should be disallowed as evidence.

The case is expected to end today.

© Copyright 2018 Kamloops Daily News