Bail was granted to a Toronto man who was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking back in June. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

Accused in Whitehorse fentanyl bust granted bail

Judge Michael Cozens granted bail to Jibril Hosh Jibril Thursday afternoon

A man charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking after Whitehorse RCMP intercepted a package containing hundreds of fentanyl tablets will be heading home to Toronto after he was granted bail Thursday afternoon.

But, as territorial court judge Michael Cozens put it, living with and abiding by the strict bail conditions “is not going to be easy.”

Twenty-six-year-old Jibril Hosh Jibril, from Toronto, was arrested and charged with one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking on June 30. Whitehorse RCMP had confiscated a package two months earlier containing 535 tablets of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid often described as 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. The case is believed to be the first involving a fentanyl seizure in the territory.

Dressed in a plain white t-shirt, black sweatpants and black socks with no shoes, Jibril entered the courtroom Thursday carrying a copy of the Qu’ran and a blue folder that contained, among other things, a copy of the front page of the News that featured a prominent headline about the fentanyl bust. Sporting a close-cropped haircut and small beard, Jibril sat at the defence table next to his lawyer, Lindsay Hoban, and remained mostly silent and emotionless throughout the proceedings, occasionally whispering to Hoban or glancing up at her or Crown attorney Jean-Benoît Deschamps as they addressed the judge.

The evidence presented in the hearing is covered by a publication ban, but after about two-and-a-half hours of arguments, and to the objection of Deschamps, Cozens granted Jibril bail, during which he will be released into the custody of his older sister in Toronto.

“This is a significant bail hearing,” Cozens said, adding it was a “difficult case but very well-presented on both sides” before listing off the conditions Jibril must adhere to.

Upon release from the Whitehorse Correctional Centre (WCC), pending a $5,000 cash deposit, Jibril must remain within his sister’s line-of-sight at all times, meaning she must come to Whitehorse to pick him up and accompany him back to Toronto. Within 36 hours of arriving in Toronto, he must surrender to Toronto police to answer for an outstanding bench warrant for him in Ontario. While in Toronto, Jibril must live at his sister’s apartment and will be under house arrest, meaning he cannot leave the unit unless his sister is accompanying him barring “exceptionally extreme” circumstances.

Jibril will have to answer the phone or door “within reasonable hours” to authorities checking if he’s following his bail conditions and must not possess any alcohol, drugs, firearms, ammunition or explosives. He also must not enter any establishments that sell alcohol and attend any counselling or addiction treatment programs as recommend by his bail supervisor, maintain the part-time job he’s been offered by his sister and not use cell phones except for work purposes. A police officer may also search Jibril, the apartment or any vehicle he’s in without a warrant for the duration of his bail, and he must return to Whitehorse and surrender himself to the WCC 48 hours before any court proceedings are set to begin.

“This is not going to be easy… I don’t think it’s going to be easy at all, being inside an apartment 24-7,” said Cozens, who decided not to restrict Jibril from using the internet.

“You’ve got to remain sane while you’re in a fairly tight environment,” Cozens quipped.

The judge added that he will provide a written reasoning for his decision next week.

The case has been adjourned until the end of the month, when a preliminary hearing is expected to be held.

A conviction of possession of a Schedule I substance for the purpose of trafficking carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

RCMP made mistake by not telling public sooner about fentanyl arrest: superintendent

Yukon RCMP “dropped the ball” by not telling the public sooner about the arrest of a man in Whitehorse who was charged with possessing fentanyl for the purposes of trafficking, Supt. Brian Jones told the News Aug. 17.

“This thing breaks down into two ways,” Jones said about the case that started back in April, when Whitehorse RCMP intercepted a package containing 535 fentanyl tablets. A suspect, Jibril Hosh Jibril, 26, was arrested and charged June 30, but the RCMP did not make the information public until this week following an inquiry by a News reporter.

“In my mind, the pills are seized in April, the investigation happens and (Jibril) is located and arrested, which is Part A,” Jones said. “And then he’s released for court July 1, and at that point, we make a mistake.”

Jones said he’d intended to make the information public following Jibril’s arrest, but the RCMP made “a mistake of omission” and “dropped the ball, internally, our processes from July 1 to whenever your reporter phoned us.”

Jones added that the RCMP had “no intent” to make the news about the discovery of the pills public until after an arrest was made and that Jibril was “a difficult person to find.” The investigator on the case was also “actively involved” in a homicide investigation at the time but “caught a lucky break” in locating and arresting Jibril.

Although the RCMP is aware of fentanyl use within the territory, Jones said it’s unclear how significant the seizure of the package is when it comes to fentanyl supply.

“We still don’t have enough information to know what part of the pie these 535 pills were,” he said.

The first story has been edited to correct the spelling of Linsday Hoban’s last name.

With files from Chris Windeyer

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

fentanylopioidsYukon courts

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Joel Krahn/Yukon News Bail was granted to a Toronto man who was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking back in June.

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