'The boss' in Yellowknife 'dial-a-dope' drug operation reaches plea deal with Crown

A Yellowknife man who ran a drug-selling operation in the Northwest Territories and Calgary has pleaded guilty to two related charges, including possessing and conspiring to traffic cocaine.

After guilty pleas, prosecutor and defence recommend 5 years in prison for Norman Hache

Norman Hache pleaded guilty to a drug trafficking charge and a charge of trying to arrange an assault on another man in N.W.T. Supreme Court on Thursday. (Walter Strong/CBC)

Norman Hache, a Yellowknife man and "the boss" who ran a drug-selling operation connecting Calgary drugs to at least four Northwest Territories communities including Yellowknife has pleaded guilty to two charges: possessing and conspiring to traffic cocaine, and trying to arrange for a man to be assaulted.

Hache entered the pleas in Northwest Territories Supreme Court on Thursday. Crown and defence counsel agreed on a five-year term of incarceration minus credit for time he's already served.

The plea deal also means other related charges will likely be dropped. The judge has yet to accept the terms of the deal and determine a sentence. Earlier this year a judge gave two lower level dealers caught in the same RCMP investigation five-year prison terms.

Hache, 36, former owner of Jerrie's Delivery Service in Yellowknife, has been in custody at the North Slave Correctional Centre since his arrest in April 2016.

RCMP arrested Hache and eight other people after raiding five different locations in the city.

They seized quantities of fentanyl, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, psilocybin (the compound in magic mushrooms), marijuana, and anabolic steroids. Cash, four firearms, and three "prohibited weapons" were also seized.

A display of drugs, cash, and merchandise seized by RCMP as part of Project Green Manalishi. Norman Hache was arrested in connection to the operation, and entered a plea bargain agreement in court Thursday. (Garrett Hinchey/CBC)

In court, Crown prosecutor Duane Praught called the drug distribution operation — of which Hache was considered "the boss" — "complex" and "sophisticated."

A statement read out in court, which was admitted by Hache, laid out his involvement. It said Hache arranged to get cocaine and other illicit drugs from Calgary to Yellowknife, where they were sold in what's known as a dial-a-dope operation — people called a cellphone number to arrange to buy the drugs and get them delivered to a specific location.

Hache also arranged for the drugs to be distributed to Fort Resolution via a confidant on one of the airlines. The drugs were then sold to people in that community as well as in Hay River and Fort Smith.

For this, Hache pleaded guilty to conspiring to traffic and possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine.

'Kick him in the… teeth'

Hache also pleaded guilty to counselling the offence of assault, or trying to get someone to beat someone else up.

In two audio files played in court, Hache was persistent as he tried to convince a confidant in Calgary to assault someone Hache believed had stolen money from him.

"Kick him in the… teeth, man," Hache said over the phone in the audio file, which was recorded via RCMP wiretap. "Knock him down."

"Bro, the guy thinks he's the toughest… around," Hache was heard to say.

"We're going to look like punks if we don't. Please."

Apologizes, wants to learn a trade

In letters submitted to the court, family and friends say Hache didn't have an easy life growing up and currently attends narcotics and alcoholics anonymous.

He has four prior drug trafficking convictions from his late teens, but defence lawyer Caroline Wawzonek said being arrested in connection to this operation was a relief for Hache.

She says his first son was born while he was in custody on these charges, and that he wants out of the drug business.

Wawzonek says Hache plans to become a tradesman and will complete his studies while he's in custody.

When asked if he wanted to say anything to the courtroom, Hache said: "I just want to apologize to everyone."

The judge will hand down her sentencing decision on Aug. 28.