'I am not a drug dealer': Mary Anne Lafferty takes the stand in drug trafficking trial
Lafferty says she had no idea she was picking up drugs, denies being paid by drug kingpin
On Sept. 21, Mary Anne Lafferty was convicted of 8 counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking. Vitaline Lafferty was acquitted of the same charges.
Mary Anne Lafferty testified to a jury in N.W.T Supreme Court that she had no idea a delivery she agreed to make for her daughter would result in drug trafficking charges.
The 58-year-old and her mother Vitaline Lafferty, 79, are on trial, each facing eight charges related to possessing and trafficking marijuana, cocaine, MDMA and codeine. The charges date back to 2016, when the two were pulled over at an RCMP checkstop near Fort Providence.
Mary Anne Lafferty told the jury on Tuesday that her daughter, Katrina Stiopu, asked her to drive to Indian Cabins in northern Alberta for Stiopu's employer, Jerrie's Delivery. The delivery service was owned by a man named Andy, which the court heard was an alias for Yellowknife drug kingpin Todd Dube.
"I didn't find out how far [Stiopu] was in [with the drug operation] until the RCMP stopped us," Lafferty said. "When they opened the trunk, I knew."
Lafferty testified she and her mother headed toward Hay River late in the afternoon on March 17.
Their initial plan was to stop in Fort Resolution before heading to the spot where the delivery would take place. Lafferty said one of her daughters had suffered a loss in her family, and Lafferty planned to go to the funeral before making the delivery.
The two women arrived in Hay River around 1:30 a.m. and checked in to the Ptarmigan Inn. They never made it to Fort Resolution.
Lafferty said they made it to the pick-up location near Indian Cabins and waited for a white car, as per her daughter's instructions. She recalled waiting for several hours.
Eventually, they spotted the car on the shoulder of a highway and Lafferty said she waved the car to the nearest off-ramp.
"You don't have to get out of the car," she remembers telling her mother.
My bad decision was not standing up for myself and saying no to my daughter.- Mary Anne Lafferty
On the shoulder of the highway, Lafferty told the jury she opened the trunk and saw the man fill her mother's blue Ford Escape with packages. She said she had no idea they were picking up drugs.
Lafferty said she slept for the rest of the car ride.
A 'bad decision'
The women were pulled over at about 8:30 p.m. near Fort Providence. RCMP searched the car and found approximately 1.7 kilograms of cocaine, 5.8 kilograms of marijuana, five litres of liquid codeine, and 84.5 grams of MDMA.
During his line of questioning, Lafferty's attorney, Thomas Boyd, referenced a conversation between Lafferty and RCMP Const. Joe Miller where she said she had made a "bad decision."
Boyd asked his client if she could clarify what that meant.
"My bad decision was not standing up for myself and saying no to my daughter... and not saying 'no' to the trip," she said.
'I am not a drug dealer'
During cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Duane Praught suggested that Lafferty had known about the drug deal. He asked her if Dube ever paid her $1,000 to make the trip to Indian Cabins.
Lafferty denied the accusation.
Praught also asked Lafferty if she had ever sold drugs.
"I am not a drug dealer," she said. "I [used to] take from my own stash and lend it to my friends."
Lafferty said sometimes, her friends would give her money so she could buy more drugs.
Trial resumes at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday with Vitaline Lafferty expected to testify before Justice Shannon Smallwood.