Millbrook’s band administrator sat stoically as he made his first court appearance yesterday on a litany of firearm and drug-related charges following Monday night’s raid of his Willow Street home.
Alexander Keith Cope, 44, of 780 Willow St., appeared briefly in Truro provincial court yesterday afternoon for a bail hearing. He is facing 36 charges, including possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, producing marijuana, producing cannabis resin and possessing cannabis resin.
Police seized a total of 16 firearms, including 13 long guns, two revolvers and a pistol. Charges of careless storage of a firearm accompanies each of the gun charges and he is also charged with possession of stolen property from Manitoba involving one of the rifles.
RCMP spokesman Sgt. Mark Gallagher said the fact Cope is a band councillor had no impact on the investigation.
“None whatsoever. We carry on our investigation like we would any other investigation of people that are dealing with drugs,” he said during an afternoon news conference at the Millbrook RCMP detachment.
Cope’s common-law wife of nine years, Nicole Williams, 30, who is four-months pregnant, faces the same charges as Cope.
Both were released from custody on strict conditions, including a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.
Cope was ordered to post a bail of $10,000 cash. He is permitted to be outside the community or the province on band business, providing he has advance permission from the RCMP to do so. His curfew conditions apply regardless of his location.
Cope is to return for an election and plea on March 4.
Williams, who took deep breaths and appeared to fight back tears as she sat with her hands clasped in front of her stomach while in the courtroom, is to return for a plea on March 18.
Police said they obtained the search warrant on information firearms were not secured properly inside the home at the Millbrook-Truro border.
Cope is serving his eighth two-year term as a band councillor in Millbrook and has been the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board’s First Nations representative since being appointed by the education minister in August 2003.
“While the charges are obviously troubling, he hasn’t been found guilty of them,” said education department spokesman Peter McLaughlin. “We have to respect the court process.
Chief Lawrence Paul said council would discuss the issue at its Feb. 18 council meeting and take advice from its solicitor.
He did say the charges show nobody is above the law in Millbrook.