Possessing millions of dollars worth of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking will likely land former Calgary mayoral candidate Jonathan Sunstrum, otherwise known as Mr. Bubbles, a 16-year prison term, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Back in January, Sunstrum was convicted in January of possessing fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking. Crown prosecutor Danielle Szabo said a much harsher punishment for Sunstrum, 60, was warranted, considering provincial court Judge Mark Tyndale found him to be a major player in the trafficking scheme. Allegedly, the amount and quality seized from Sunstrum made it the biggest fentanyl case in Alberta, if not all of Canada.
“This is a case that involved a kilogram of 82 per cent pure fentanyl,” Szabo said. “This is an amount of fentanyl that could be broken down to between $14 million and $26 million in value.” Because of the drug's purity, the potential for hundreds of thousands of deadly doses hitting the streets was possible - up to 410,000 single two-milligram doses.
The judge rejected arguments that Sunstrum was just a courier, or “gofer,” affirming the "inescapable conclusion that Mr. Sunstrum was involved in the wholesale trafficking of fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine and methamphetamine at a very high level.”
His Defence counsel is seeking to upraise Sunstrum’s personal circumstances when deciding on an appropriate sentence. For example, counsel argued that Sunstrum twice ran for mayor of Calgary and was credited with cleaning up downtown’s 7th Avenue when he opened his Uptown 7th Art Gallery, in addition to blowing soap bubbles out of his apartment along the strip to cheer up pedestrians - giving him his eponymous nickname.
However, he soon fell on hard times, leading him to desperately engage in drug trafficking. The Defence counsel added that "Sunstrum’s good name will now forever be tarnished by media coverage of his crime." “The internet is forever,” she told Tyndale.
“If you Google his name, Mr. Bubbles, the candidate for mayor doesn’t come up, Mr. Bubbles as a drug dealer comes up.”