Pleading guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking crack cocaine as part of a dial-a-dope operation resulted in a 12-month jail sentence for a senior citizen.
Ellen Lizette New, 76, was handed the-12 month jail sentence from Judge Calvin Struyk in Terrace Provincial Court March 6.
After the jail sentence, he ordered her to then spend 12 months on probation with conditions of not possessing any illegal drugs, not living in a residence where illegal drugs are present and to abide by a lifetime firearms prohibition. New must also provide a DNA sample.
On June 14, 2014, a police officer contacted a number to order drugs and when New arrived at the meeting place, officers seized six spitballs of crack totaling 2g, $2,510 in cash, baggies, a scanner and a can of WD-40 with a false bottom, court heard before sentencing.
Struyk noted that mitigating circumstances included New’s guilty plea although it came quite late in the court process and that defence lawyer Michael Murphey said his client had changed her life by not associating with people in the drug trade, including some in her own family.
Aggravating circumstances included that she was involved in a dial-a-dope operation that was well-established given the items that were seized. This is her second conviction and involves trafficking hard drugs and she was already advanced in age when she chose to participate in this lifestyle.
New must also pay a victim fine surcharge of $470, which is due by Dec. 31, 2018.
New, who court heard has been living in Kitselas, lost her residence to the Civil Forfeiture Act four years ago.
In 2013, police asked the BC Civil Forfeiture Office to pursue the forfeiture of New’s house, saying it was used for drug trafficking and the proceeds from that trafficking were used to increase her equity in the property, according to the notice of civil claim, the first document filed for the forfeiture back then.
Her home at 3810 Pine Ave., plus $2,860 seized by police, were ordered forfeited in July 2013.
The home sold for $91,500 on Nov. 5, 2013.
The Civil Forfeiture Law, introduced in October 2005, allows the government to use civil court rules and processes to go after property, vehicles and other assets used in, or acquired through, unlawful activity.
Money recovered is paid into a special account and used to compensate crime victims, fund crime prevention programs, and pay for the costs of administering the act.
The civil court process is entirely separate, and a key distinction is that it depends upon a civil standard of proof – that is, a balance of probabilities – and involves taking action against property rather than people.
New was sentenced eight years ago on a similar charge.
In 2009, New received a conditional sentence of five months on one charge of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
That sentence came from New’s arrest on April 18, 2007, after Terrace RCMP executed a search warrant on her Thornhill residence and found cocaine, marijuana and numerous bottled prescription medications, according to police at that time.
Conditional sentence orders are no longer available for judges to use on drug convictions.