He had a family to feed, and a steady flow of income had dried up with recent layoffs for both himself and his wife.
So Florante Cemania resorted to desperate measures to deal with his desperate times, allowing an acquaintance to stash some drugs inside his North End home.
The decision has now cost Cemania, 51, his freedom. The Winnipeg father of four, who had no prior criminal record, pleaded guilty Thursday to possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and was sentenced to three years in prison under a joint-recommendation from Crown and defence lawyers.
Cemania was arrested in June 2011 after police were tipped off by an informant that illegal activity was going on inside his home.
Officers obtained a search warrant and found seven ounces of cocaine inside Cemania’s garage, along with $27,000 stuffed behind a ceiling tile; the money was alleged to be proceeds of crime.
Defence lawyer Iain Macnair told court Cemania hadn’t got so much as a speeding ticket since coming to Canada from the Philippines in the 1990s.
But the situation grew dire when he was laid off from his job with Western Glove Works in 2010, and his wife suffered a similar fate with her employment at Nygard International.