Two Maude St. men admit to drug trafficking


Alex Kurial/Local Journalism Initiative

Two Petrolia men have admitted to drug trafficking after about $18,000 in cocaine was seized during a Maude Street drug bust in February 2020.

James Kember, 26, and Justin Gadd, 25, entered guilty pleas to trafficking cocaine in front of Justice Bruce Thomas in Sarnia Superior Court. They’ll return for sentencing early in 2022.

Both appearing by video the two listened to the facts of the Feb. 18, 2020 afternoon when their enterprise unravelled. Kember and Gadd had attracted the attention of the Lambton OPP Community Street Crimes Unit. Police were granted a search warrant for the two men along with their home and vehicles.

Gadd was the first to be arrested, taken down outside a Sarnia dry cleaners as he walked out with his laundry. Inside his 2009 Volkswagen sedan was 18 grams of cocaine, $950 cash and multiple cell phones. The car was towed.

Half an hour later Kember arrived at the Maude Street house he shared with Gadd. The police were waiting and took him into custody. Kember was in trouble before police even entered the house; inside his 1997 Chevy pickup was six grams of cocaine and lots of petty cash.

But this was nothing compared to the haul indoors. Between the two men’s bedrooms and a spare room 188 grams of cocaine was seized in addition to thousands in cash in Canadian, American and Dominican currency. SIM cards, some ecstasy and drug paraphernalia was also recovered.

The total cocaine seized was 212 grams or 7.5 ounces worth an estimated $18,000. Police also found $5,670 Canadian, $311 American and 50 Dominican pesos.

Lawyers for both men requested pre-sentence reports be prepared prior to their January sentencing date. With jail a possibility the next appearance will be in-person.

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