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Judge gets tough on drug trafficker

Man sentenced to six months for selling hash

Tara Kearsey
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 02/02) - Chief Judge Robert Halifax showed no tolerance for a Project Getaway drug trafficker in territorial court this week.

Tom Elliott, 26, was sentenced to six months in jail for selling half an ounce of black hash to an undercover civilian informant, accompanied by an undercover RCMP officer, on March 12. The deal was part of the RCMPs Project Getaway undercover operation geared at infiltrating local criminal organizations.

The court heard the informant was directed to contact Elliott on March 11 and ask to meet with him at the Black Knight Pub.

There the civilian agent informed Elliott he had come into some money and his friend, the undercover officer, had twice that amount of money. The agent told Elliott they wanted to invest their money into drugs to make a profit.

The court heard Elliott informed the agent that he had a brick of black hash with a golden seal.

He advised the agent he would get it for him the next day before departing on a trip to Vancouver.

Once arrived in Vancouver, Elliott advised he would be meeting with a 22-year-old man originally from Yellowknife whom he referred to as the man.

Elliott also said three of his associates would be driving to Vancouver to meet him there, the court heard. He advised the agent he would be able to purchase some marijuana from him after he returned from the trip.

The following day the agent and undercover officer met with Elliott at his apartment and purchased half an ounce of black hash for $200, the court heard.

The accused advised the agent again that he could purchase some marijuana from him when he returned from his trip.

Elliott had no criminal record prior to the offence, but Crown prosecutor Bernadette Schmaltz argued he was in the business of trafficking hashish and although it was a small amount, the circumstances show ongoing trafficking.

Schmaltz said drug traffickers who benefit from large profits and an easy lifestyle must realize that the risks associated with trafficking drugs is not worth it.

But since Elliott entered an early guilty plea, Schmaltz said he saved the courts time and resources and recommended three months imprisonment would be appropriate.

But Halifax showed no mercy for Elliott.

There was also admission there is an ongoing business, he noted.

The circumstances indicate Mr. Elliott is an ongoing business, he said, adding the court all too often sees the spin-off crimes associated with drug use and drug trafficking.

To be quite frank Mr. Elliott, I dont have a lot of sympathy for you.

We dont need you. Youre not an upstanding citizen helping the country develop - youre a liability, he scolded.

Halifax said a jail term that removed Elliott from the streets for a while is appropriate. He sentenced him to six months in jail.

Mr. Elliott, I hope you learn a lesson, Halifax said as he struck the gavel and closed the court session.