Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia judge convicts drug dealer's girlfriend in proceeds of crime case

A drug dealer's girlfriend has been convicted of living off the proceeds of crime, despite her claims that she didn’t know where the money was coming from.

'Sometimes love isn't actually blind. It just pretends not to see,' wrote Justice Jamie Campbell

Police seized a condominium, jewelry and vehicles from a Halifax couple, Sean Decker and Christine Garnett, in 2012 following a large-scale drug investigation.

A drug dealer's girlfriend has been convicted of money laundering and living off the proceeds of crime, despite her claims that she didn't know where the money was coming from.

Jacqueline Garnett was Sean Decker's girlfriend. He's serving a 9½ year sentence for trafficking in marijuana, hashish and cocaine. He was arrested in October 2011, as part of a major drug bust, Operation H-Timber.

Garnett claimed at the time of Decker's arrest that she was "shocked" to learn he was a major drug dealer. But Justice Jamie Campbell of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court wasn't buying it.

"Sometimes love isn't actually blind. It just pretends not to see," Justice Campbell wrote in a decision released today.

$60,000 cash for Porsche

When Garnett and Decker first met, Campbell noted, he had already racked up convictions for illegal cigarettes and other drug offences. When Garnett introduced Decker to her family, she used a false name for him.

The judge noted instances where Garnett seemed to know she had access to a lot of money, such as when she offered to buy a used Porsche Cayenne for $60,000 cash. Garnett also ordered a custom-made engagement ring, worth $13,225. The judge said Garnett put $6,225 of the cost of the ring on her Visa card and paid the balance in cash.

"Jacqueline Garnett's evidence makes it clear that she is not a person who is naïve about money," Campbell wrote.

"She knows the costs of things. She knows that nice things costs money."

Decker was business partners with Danny DiBenedetto, who was shot to death in 2005.

'Sketchy' friends

Garnett admitted there was speculation that DiBenedetto's murder was drug-related. His death is on the province's list of unsolved crimes with a reward offered of $150,000 to solve his murder.

Decker was also an associate of Steve Skinner, who was recently arrested in Venezuela where he fled to escape a murder charge here in Nova Scotia.

Garnett described some of Decker's friends and associates as "sketchy," tough or undesirable.