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Dispute over seized vehicles, rifle continues more than 2 years after drug sentencing

A dispute over a rifle and two vehicles seized as proceeds of crime is continuing, more than two years after the man who it was seized from was sentenced. The property was taken from Norman Hache after he was arrested for cocaine trafficking in April 2016.

Mother of Norman Hache says property seized in his plea deal belongs to her and her husband

A display of drugs, cash, and merchandise seized by RCMP as part of Project Green Manalishi. In the background are photos of a pickup truck and sport utility vehicle now in dispute. (Garrett Hinchey/CBC)

A dispute over a rifle and two vehicles seized as proceeds of crime is continuing, more than two years after the man who it was seized from was sentenced.

The property was taken from Norman Hache after he was arrested in April 2016. Hache later admitted he headed up a cocaine trafficking ring operating in Yellowknife.

In August 2017, Hache pleaded guilty to conspiring to traffic cocaine and was sentenced to five years in prison

As part of the sentencing, the prosecutor got a court order to seize a 1999 Ford F-150 pickup truck, a 2010 Mercedes Benz sport utility vehicle and a Ruger brand rifle it said were related to Hache's cocaine trafficking.

Mother says property belongs to her and her husband

In N.W.T. Supreme Court Wednesday, Hache's mother, social justice activist Arlene Hache, argued that the vehicles and rifle belong to her and her husband. She said they want them back.

Arlene Hache said she and her husband lent the truck and rifle to her son to hunt. She said, though the Mercedes was registered in her son's name at the time he was arrested, she "provided papers to his lawyer showing I bought it.... If they chose to ignore that information, I don't know what to say."

Norman Hache's lawyer was Caroline Wawzonek, who is now the territory's justice minister.

Arlene Hache called on prosecutor Duane Praught to provide her with any information the crown intends to use to support its claim that the property belonged to her son. Praught said he has already provided most of that information to Norman Hache, who was not in court on Wednesday.

Praught said he does not intend to call much more evidence because Norman Hache has already admitted the truck, SUV and rifle were his and were related to his drug dealing. Praught said those admissions were made in a statement of agreed facts that was part of Norman Hache's plea deal.

"If Mr. Hache wants to adduce evidence that the agreed statement of facts is not true, that opens up a whole can of issues," Praught said.

Praught said he will provide Arlene Hache with two more pieces of evidence the prosecutor intends to rely on. One is a vehicle registration certificate that, Praught said, shows ownership of the Mercedes was transferred from Norman Hache to his mother "many months after it was seized."

The prosecutor said he will also provide Arlene Hache with transcripts of phone calls which, he says, show the Mercedes belonged to Norman Hache.

Recordings of hours of phone conversations Hache and his accomplices had in the course of their drug dealing were a central component of the RCMP investigation that brought them down.

The case was adjourned to allow Hache to arrange any evidence or witnesses she intends to call to prove her claim to the vehicles and rifle.

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