'Essential' member of Yellowknife drug ring sentenced to 30 months

Another one of Todd Dube’s henchmen has been sentenced for his part in Dube’s drug ring in Yellowknife. Sam Ovayuak was sentenced to 30 months in jail for allowing Dube to stash drugs at his home.

Sam Ovayuak allowed Todd Dube to stash drugs in exchange for a place to live

During the RCMP’s search on the home where Sam Ovayuak lived, they found two safes in hockey bags. They contained $1,315 in cash, 75 fentanyl pills, 14.8 grams of heroin and bags of a white powder believed to be a cutting agent to dilute cocaine.

Another one of Todd Dube's henchmen has been sentenced for his part in Dube's drug ring in Yellowknife.

In October, Sam Ovayuak, 27, was sentenced in N.W.T. Territorial Court to 30 months in jail after pleading guilty to conspiring to commit an indictable offence, after admitting that he let Dube stash drugs in his home. Dube and Ovayuak were among dozens arrested after a massive Yellowknife RCMP investigation, called Operation Green Manalishi, shut down a major drug ring in the city in April 2016.

An agreed statement of facts says that between Feb. 24, 2016 and April 4, 2016, Ovayuak worked under Dube and was one of several people who allowed the ringleader to store crack cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and marijuana at "stash houses" across the city.

Ovayuak was homeless at the time and, in exchange for rent, allowed Dube to keep two safes at the home he was living in on Fairchild Crescent.

Among the evidence presented in court were photos of two small safes found in hockey bags.

"The accused did not have access to the safes. Nor did the accused know the contents of the two safes, but he thought they contained controlled substances," the statement reads.

Ovayuak also purchased cocaine from Dube and sold it on the street.

In Ovayuak's home, RCMP found two digital scales, 25 individually wrapped pieces of cocaine and 75 fentanyl pills.

During the RCMP's search of the home, they found the safes in hockey bags. They contained $1,315 cash, 75 fentanyl pills inside a black leather purse, 14.8 grams of heroin and bags of a white powder believed to be a cutting agent to dilute cocaine.

RCMP also found two digital scales and 25 individually wrapped pieces of cocaine inside a video gamebox.

An 'enabler' who was 'vulnerable'

In her decision, Judge Christine Gagnon said Ovayuak "was an enabler." She said he showed willful blindness, calling his part in the drug ring "essential."

"His role helped other people profit from the trafficking," she said.

Gagnon also noted that, being homeless and addicted, he was vulnerable to Dube's offer.

According to a pre-sentence report, Ovayuak was born in Inuvik and is Inuvialuit. The report says he had an unstable childhood, moving frequently between Inuvik, Yellowknife and Fort Smith. He also spent time in foster care and boarding homes. He has struggled with substance abuse, including a cocaine addiction.

Todd Dube leaves the Yellowknife courthouse. Dube was sentenced to nine years in prison for operating a sophisticated drug network. (Richard Gleeson/CBC)

The report says Ovayuak has made strides to improve his mental and physical health since he was remanded into custody at North Slave Correctional Complex in Yellowknife last year.

The report says when Ovayuak was incarcerated he found out he had Type 2 diabetes, and has since lost 130 lbs. He's also attending Alcoholics Anonymous and taking a northern leadership program at the jail through Aurora College.

Ovayuak's lawyer also said his client is remorseful for his part in the drug trade.

The judge sentenced Ovayuak to 30 months in jail. With credit for time served, he has about three more months to go.

Dube was sentenced to nine years in prison last month. Over the last few months, several others, including his sister Brittany Dube, have also been sentenced for their roles in the dial-a-dope scheme.