Addicted drug trafficker says police may have saved his life with drug raid arrest

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Alex Kurial/Local Journalism Initiative

Derrick Pillon was addicted to drugs and selling them to feed his habit.

The Lambton County man has been in jail since February after Sarnia Police raided a home on Mitton Street, but he told the court it may have been the best thing for him.

Pillon, 41, appeared in Sarnia Court by video last month pleading guilty to his part in a February drug raid yielding thousands of dollars in drugs and cash. He’s been in custody since his arrest but a release date is now on the horizon.

Pillon became the focus of a drug investigation by the Sarnia Police Vice Unit at the end of 2020. By Feb. 25, enough evidence had been gathered through surveillance on his Mitton Street South home to justify a search warrant.

Police entered the home and arrested Pillon and three others, including Pillon’s 20 year-old girlfriend who he was under a court order to stay away from.

The raid turned up 15.15 grams crystal meth, 3.95 grams cocaine, 3.79 grams fentanyl, $3,300 cash and various drug paraphernalia including a debt list.

The total value of all drugs was $3,384, according to police.

Pillon accepted responsibility for the crystal meth portion of the seizure in court along with a pair of bail breaches.

Defence Lawyer Sarah Donohue says her client is an addict trafficker, dealing drugs to fuel his own habit.

Pillon, she says, “straightened out briefly” but then “self-sabotaged himself and put himself back in jail because he was unable to cope with his personal circumstances at that time.”

For his part, Pillon was anything but bitter about the experience. “I’m just thankful to the police for actually arresting me,” he says. “Without being arrested I could have very well died.”

Donohue says Pillon has participated in several rehabilitation programs while locked up despite enduring a lengthy COVID-19 lockdown and even contracting the disease.

Pillon admits it has been tough in the last few months.

“I’ve been shipped around, I haven’t had any visitors, haven’t been able to see any family. So it’s been tough.

“But things are looking up for me,” says Pillon.

Donohue says Pillon already has a job lined up when he’s released.

Justice Deborah Austin sentenced the Lambton man to 270 days in jail. He was credited with serving 206 days for his time in custody before he plead guilty. Another 20 days was credited to him for being incarcerated during the pandemic. That’s typical of many sentences during the pandemic.

That leaves 44 days of his 270 day sentence for Pillon yet to serve at the Stratford jail, where he is now housed.

“I think that, while lenient, it is a jail sentence of some significance that takes into account the nature of the substance, the quantity and the circumstances,” says Austin.

“A judicial pre-trial was held in which some frailties in the case were discussed and factored into the certainty of this resolution which I am prepared to respect,” she says.
Pillon’s lawyer added the amount of drugs seized during the Feb. 25 raid was at “lower end of trafficking level quantity of methamphetamine.”

Pillon has been banned from owning a weapon for the next 10 years and has forfeited any cash which police seized during the raid.

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