Ndilo woman sentenced to 3 years for drug trafficking despite plea for leniency

At the conclusion of her 20-minute address to the judge, Mary Anne Lafferty pleaded 'not to take me away from my grandchildren.'

Mary Anne Lafferty is the latest conviction in ‘highly successful’ Green Manalishi investigation

Mary Anne Lafferty says she didn't know the delivery would result in drug trafficking charges. (Michael Hugall/CBC)

Despite her last-minute plea for leniency, a Ndilo woman who got caught bringing a large amount of cocaine, marijuana and other drugs into the N.W.T. has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Mary Anne Lafferty was sentenced Thursday morning, after tearfully recounting to the judge the difficulties she's endured during her life, including being emotionally, physically and sexually abused at residential school, growing up in a home where alcohol abuse and violence were commonplace and a string of abusive relationships.

At the conclusion of her 20-minute address to the judge, Lafferty pleaded "not to take me away from my grandchildren."

"I'm a caregiver," said the 58-year-old. "I've been a caregiver since I was seven years old and will be until the day I die."

Lafferty and her mother were charged after police pulled them over near Fort Providence just over two and a half years ago. Police found 5.4 kilograms of marijuana, 1.7 kilograms of cocaine, three ounces of MDMA and five litres of liquid codeine in the trunk of the vehicle.

Prosecutor Duane Praught said the Green Manalishi investigation has proven successful. (Richard Gleeson/CBC)

A jury acquitted Lafferty's mother on all charges.

Lafferty said she was not aware of what was in the car. She said her daughter, Katrina Stiopu, had asked her to pick up the package from another person near the B.C. border and bring it back to Yellowknife. Stiopu was sentenced to four and a half years in prison in January despite arguing she was preyed upon by sophisticated drug dealers.

In court on Thursday, Justice Shannon Smallwood said she was satisfied Lafferty knew what she was doing when she picked up the package.

"She didn't ask any questions because she didn't want to know."

Lafferty's sentencing is the latest in a string of about a dozen people convicted of drug crimes as a result of the RCMP's Green Manalishi investigation, which targeted the hard drug trade in Yellowknife.

At the centre of the investigation was a court authorization to listen in on the conversations of suspected drug dealers Todd Dube and Norman Hache.

"It's been highly successful," said prosecutor Duane Praught of the investigation. "That's a reflection of the quality of the work the RCMP did and the quality of work by our office as well. There have been many people involved in these files."