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Crack cash courier gets 12 months in jail

Gabriel Zarate
Northern News Services
Published Monday, December 15, 2008

IQALUIT - An Edmonton woman has been sentenced to 12 months in jail for transporting money from drug sales in Iqaluit.

Alicia Belcher, 23, was arrested in Yellowknife March 7 after arriving on a flight from Iqaluit with roughly $239,000 in her luggage, money associated with the sale of crack cocaine. Her suitcase was identified by an RCMP sniffer dog.

Belcher pleaded guilty Dec. 3 at the Nunavut Court of Justice to possession of proceeds of crime. She had no previous criminal record.

Her arrest was part of a series of RCMP operations against the crack trade in Iqaluit. Two Edmonton men were also arrested on drug charges in Iqaluit in March.

Jacob Alan Friskie received a three-year prison sentence in the fall for trafficking. Darrean Wesley Hall was released on bail but now has a Canada-wide warrant issued for his arrest.

In passing sentence Justice Earl Johnson told Belcher, "You made a very serious mistake in judgment in getting involved with a sophisticated drug organization based in Edmonton for your first offence. Those organizations must understand the cost of exploiting aboriginal people in Nunavut. You, and other couriers, must understand the unpleasant downside of the risk you run in transporting large sums of drug money from Nunavut to the south."

Her defence lawyer said Belcher was paid $1,000 to transport the money from Iqaluit to Edmonton.