Police tracked a Behchokǫ̀ man’s cell phone as he travelled throughout the North Slave before pulling over the truck he was in and finding a “significant” amount of cocaine, court heard this week.
Patrick Junior Adzin, 29, dropped his head into his hands as he was sentenced to 22 months in jail late Tuesday afternoon in Supreme Court.
His lawyer had asked for closer to 18 months, after his client pleaded guilty to one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking. RCMP found 51 grams of crack cocaine and three grams of powder cocaine after pulling over the truck on Highway 3 between Yellowknife and Behchokǫ̀ in February 2018.
“The North is a very tempting market for drug traffickers … there continues to be the need to send a clear message that when people do get caught, they will face strong sentences,” Chief Justice Louise Charbonneau said, in reading her decision.
“Cocaine causes ravages and devastation in our communities. Trafficking in hard drugs does real damage. It aggravates problems our communities are already struggling with, including intergenerational trauma.
“It leads to a destructive cycle of misery.”
Charbonneau said cocaine trafficking is not diminishing in this region and its effects are being felt, as addicts do whatever they feel is necessary to fuel their addiction – including family neglect and crimes being committed.
“It never seems to stop,” she said.
Court heard Adzin had a troubled upbringing, as his parents – both residential school survivors – were alcoholics for many years before getting sober. His main cultural influences came from his grandparents, who provided traditional knowledge and took him out on the land.
Speaking directly to Adzin, Charbonneau said: “I hope when you are released, you will go back to Behchokǫ̀ and become a leader in the community.”
Adzin has a criminal record, with entries for violent crimes and weapons offences.
With 10 days of pre-trial custody, Adzin will spend 21 months and three weeks behind bars. The judge placed a note on his file asking authorities he be jailed at North Slave Correctional Centre, to be closer to his family, as opposed to being sent south.
He is subject to a 10-year firearms ban, with an exemption if going on the land to hunt. He will also lose the cell phone police were tracking and a small amount of cash on him when arrested.
Charges against the driver of the pick-up truck, Scot Zoe, were previously stayed.
Sushi Café crash driver receives fine
Kimberly Ongahak was fined $2,000 and will be prohibited from driving for two years after crashing a pick-up truck through the front of a popular Yellowknife restaurant.
In territorial court recently, the 36-year-old was also ordered to stay 10 metres away from the Sushi Café, located on busy Franklin Avenue.
She had earlier pleaded guilty to impaired operation of a vehicle. The crash took place in the early hours of Sunday, July 15.
The white Ford F-150 pick-up operated by Ongahak, who did not have a driver’s licence, remained lodged halfway inside Sushi Café’s dining room for hours after the crash.
The impact obliterated the front wall and windows, while the truck came to rest wedged among chairs and tables.
Ongahak fled the scene. She was arrested just over a month later.
Nobody was inside the café at the time of the crash. The business was forced to close for some time before partially re-opening. Repairs to the front wall of the building took months to be completed.
Second person on trial for Hay River murder
A Hay River man charged with first-degree murder in the 2017 death of Alexander Norwegian will stand trial for the crime.
On March 4, James George Thomas, 27, was committed to stand trial after a preliminary inquiry.
There is a publication ban on evidence presented at the hearing, routine for these pre-trial proceedings.
Thomas was charged with three of his cousins, Sasha Cayen, 26, Tyler Cayen, 33, and Levi Cayen, 21.
Tyler Cayen was sentenced to two years less a day in January after pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact to manslaughter.
Sasha Cayen, was sentenced to three years and seven months in January after she pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Levi Cayen also faces first-degree murder and robbery charges. He and Thomas should go to trial next year.
Sasha Cayen drew Norwegian – a known drug dealer – into an ambush on Sandy Creek Road on the Kátł’odeeche First Nation in Boxing Day in 2017, a court previously heard, in which he was beaten by two men, ‘jacked’ of his drugs, and later died of hypothermia with a cracked skull.