Facing several drug charges, the trial of a Red Deer man, who is already serving time for a crash that claimed the life of a young City boy, began in provincial court last week.
Rodney Arens, 37, of Red Deer, pleaded guilty to impaired care and control of a motor vehicle, obstructing an officer and resisting arrest and failing to comply with conditions.
He pleaded not guilty to numerous drug related charges.
On Dec. 21st, 2013 Sylvan Lake RCMP responded to a complaint of a possible impaired driver in Sylvan Lake. Upon locating the parked and running vehicle at the Fas Gas on Main Street, police located the driver, slumped over the steering wheel. After waking the driver and speaking to him, he was arrested for impaired care or control of a motor vehicle.
Police have said after a search of the male and the vehicle, they located cash and crack cocaine and a small amount of marijuana.
During Arens’ trial last week in Red Deer provincial court, Paul Reno, 51, testified that he tried to wake Arens up as he sat slumped over in the driver’s seat.
“I pulled up to the Fas Gas at about 9:15 that morning to get my morning coffee. I saw a clerk standing at the corner of the building looking agitated and there was a white pick up truck there and I noticed the driver was sitting slumped over in the truck with his eyes closed. His right hand was also twitching,” he said. “The vehicle was locked so I tapped on the window and he didn’t respond. I tapped harder and I started getting a little concerned – I wasn’t sure if he was in medical distress or if he was inebriated.
“I banged hard enough that he lifted his head a bit and briefly looked at me but then put his head back down. I told the clerk that we needed to call 9-1-1.”
RCMP Const. Tyson Dahl was one of three members to arrive on scene. He was joined by Const. Kathryn Robertson and Const. Roderick Johnson.
Dahl said he walked to the driver’s side window and peaked in the back of the two-door truck.
“I could see that there was a tool or gun without the butt in the back,” he said, adding he then began knocking on the driver’s side window in hopes of getting Arens’ attention. “He had keys in his hand and there was beef jerky spilled on his lap. He wasn’t responding so I knocked harder and he opened his eyes a bit but wasn’t responsive.”
Dahl said he was able to open the truck door and he spoke loudly and asked what Arens was doing and if he was ok.
“I did that several times and at one point he looked up and noticed we were there. I asked him what he was doing and if he was ok again and he said ‘What do you think I am doing? I am just sitting here’.”
Dahl said he then asked Arens to step out of the vehicle and that he would be detained for intoxication.
“I felt in my experience that he was impaired.”
Dahl added Arens got out of the vehicle and was asked to empty his pockets.
“He didn’t want to comply with that and was fumbling around like he was trying to hide something. He was fumbling in his right pant pocket and he pulled his hand out and had cash and there was also a white baggy that was tightly tied up and had a white substance in it which was believed to be crack cocaine,” he said. “He took the bag and put it inside his mouth. At that point I was hands on with the suspect and attempted to arrest him.”
Dahl said he also told Arens to spit out what he had put into his mouth.
“He was resisting arrest and was actively trying to get away from us. He was taken down to the ground belly first.”
Arens did eventually spit the substance out as Johnson testified that he grabbed his neck so that he could not swallow it.
After the officers took Arens into custody, he was driven to the police detachment.
“We took him to the cell area and he was showing emotional ups and downs. He asked us to do him a favour and put a bullet in his head. He went from crying to argumentative with us. It was a volatile situation – he was not cooperative with police.”
As Arens was taken to the detachment, Robertson stayed back and was in charge of the investigation of the vehicle Arens was found in.
“I started at the front of the vehicle and found a similar wrapped white substance on the centre console and a small vile as well,” she said.
Robertson added in the backseat of the truck she located a plug-in cooler bag. In there she said she found several prescription pill bottles with a mix of prescription pills in one, some wrapped substance believed to be crack cocaine in another and some soft white substance believed to be soft cocaine in another pill bottle. She testified that she also found a bag of what appeared to be marijuana, another bag with a soft white substance that appeared to be cocaine, a ripped plastic bag with soft white powder, a baggy with several pieces of a hard white substance, a single use pipe and a small scale, among other items.
“In the backseat I also seized a BB shotgun. At first I did believe it to be legitimate.”
In addition, an undercover officer who was deemed an expert witness in packaging, pricing, distribution, paraphernalia of traffickers and purchases, methods of trafficking and general usage patterns in reference to cocaine, also testified at the trial.
“In examining the exhibits and listening to the testimony, it is of my opinion that this cocaine was possessed for the purpose of trafficking,” he said. “The quantity exceeds what a personal user would purchase.”
He added in terms of the BB shotgun, many drug traffickers will have such a weapon near them or on them.
“It is used to intimidate customers or other drug dealers so that they don’t get robbed.”
The trial did not finish as expected last week and Arens will return to court April 14th where his trial will continue and is expected to wrap up. Arens is expected to take the stand at that time.
He remains in custody.