Five years after Norman Hache was sentenced for his role as head of a cocaine trafficking enterprise in the NWT, mother Arlene Hache will now reclaim the Mercedes used to carry out much of the operation.
Arlene appeared in court Tuesday as an applicant to retrieve the car, a Mercedes ML500, that had been seized in 2016 as offence related property.
“It’s been a six-year odyssey,” Arlene said.
She told the court that she had purchased the vehicle at Norman’s request on the understanding that he would pay her back in installments since he had no credit to buy the car on his own.
She insisted, however, that Norman register for his own insurance since she “didn’t trust that he wouldn’t drink and drive.”
Crown Prosecutor Duane Praught presented a series of vehicle registration documents with Norman’s signature and his Forest Drive residence listed to demonstrate that Norman owned the vehicle and it should remain seized, whether or not Arlene paid.
He noted that the car was listed under Norman’s name at the time of arrest, and that ownership to Arlene was transferred 10 months after it was seized.
“She has no legal interest in the vehicle,” Praught said. Norman owned the vehicle, he told the court, “what she thought she owned, is irrelevant.”
Praught described Norman’s dealings, driving around to sell cocaine, collect cash, and transport drugs from Calgary to four communities across the territory.
Norman was, at the time, working for Jerrie’s Delivery Service – a business he and Arlene had co-owned and sold to Todd and Brittany Dube months prior. The Dubes’ would later be sentenced for their role in the drug scheme as well.
“This vehicle was used in the commission of crime,” Praught said. “Ms. Hache never once used the vehicle.”
Arlene said she knew nothing of the trafficking ahead of her son’s arrest, but that she continues to make monthly payments on the car and doesn’t “want to totally lose out.”
She told the court that her life’s work has been in advocating for victims and working at a shelter for women, many of whom face additions.
“I would not support drug dealing in any way,” she said, distancing herself from any relation to her son’s criminality.
Justice Andrew Mahar granted Arlene’s application to reclaim the car.
He said that while “the court has no sympathy for the situation Mr. Hache finds himself in, that’s not what we’re here to deal with.”
Mahar agreed the Mercedes was in Norman’s name until 10 months after his arrest, but said he had to assume the transfer was not made to avoid the car’s forfeiture.
He acknowledged the $41,000 Arlene paid for the car and said that “even if all the paperwork is in his name, Mr. Hache has no equity in this vehicle.”
“I just don’t see any other fair way of dealing with this.”