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Jail time for two in Getaway bust

Cocaine charges resulted from sting operation using informant

Terry Halifax
Northern News Services

Inuvik (May 16/03) - Two Inuvik men have been sentenced to jail time for selling drugs to a police informant and an undercover agent after pleading guilty on charges of selling cocaine in Inuvik Supreme Court Monday.

Patrick John Greenland, 20, and Lenny George Blake, 30, pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine and marijuana.

The court heard how on three separate incidents, Greenland procured drugs for a "civilian agent" -- a police informant, in other words -- and an undercover RCMP member during a police sting operation last April code named "Project Getaway."

Greenland provided the agent with cocaine weighing 0.32 grams and 0.49 grams as well as 0.90 grams of marijuana.

Crown counsel Shannon Smallwood cited a previous criminal record and recommended a jail sentence between six and 12 months.

Defence lawyer John Macfarlane thought an appropriate sentence would be a conditional sentence and a period of house arrest along with community work hours.

In Greenland's defence, Macfarlane said the defendant never offered the drugs for sale or profited from the sale and was asked on each occasion if he could procure the drugs for the police informant.

On charges also resulting from Project Getaway, Blake pleaded guilty to trafficking in cocaine not over three kilograms.

On three separate occasions Blake sold cocaine to the agent and the undercover police officer and on one occasion sold marijuana.

Smallwood said an aggravating factor was that Blake was on probation at the time of the incidents. She cited a previous record of five charges, two of them related drug charges.

Smallwood recommended a jail sentence of between 12 to 15 months in jail.

Macfarlane produced three letters of reference in Blake's defence, cited a good work history, the total amount of cocaine from the three sales was 1.32 grams and affirmed that he never offered drugs for sale to the agent.

"Mr. Blake was only going out of his way to ingratiate the agent, who he'd known from jail," Macfarlane said.

"The agent approached him -- not the other way around."

Macfarlane thought a jail term of eight to 12 months would be appropriate.

When asked by Supreme Court Justice Ted Richard if he had anything to say before sentencing, Blake admitted his guilt and was remorseful.

"I'd like to apologize to my family and friends for the embarrassment I've caused them," Blake told the court.

"I know I made a huge mistake and I'm ready to accept the consequence of that."

In sentencing Blake, Richard noted the defendant's exemplary work record, his contributions to the community, but scolded Blake for contributing to the "havoc" created by illicit drug use in the North.

"Mr. Blake and others are committing serious harm to their own communities," Richard said.

In sentencing Greenland, Richard declined defence council's request for a conditional sentence and handed down a sentence of nine months in jail.

"Mr. Greenland must face the music for certain choices he made a year ago," Richard said. rd said.rd said.