A man who jumped from a second-storey window in an effort to evade police only to be arrested with cocaine and cash on the ground below was handed a two-year sentence on Monday.
In a previous court appearance, Toronto-born Treyvon Stevens, 26, pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
In the fall of 2017, Yellowknife RCMP launched an investigation into suspected cocaine trafficking in the capital.
On Oct. 17, 2017, Mounties executed a search warrant at Norseman Manor apartments on 52 Avenue. When officers entered the unit, Stevens attempted to flee by jumping out of a window on the second floor.
He suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was quickly apprehended by police who found he was carrying $145 in cash. Just over 12 grams of cocaine was located nearby.
Evidence of a “commercial scale” cocaine trafficking operation was located inside the downtown apartment unit – rented by a third party – including a cellphone containing messages “consistent with a dial-a-dope operation,” said prosecutor Trevor Johnson.
In a vehicle parked outside of the apartment unit, which Stevens had been observed in days before the search warrant was executed, police found crack cocaine, along with a handgun and ammunition.
The cellphone, along with all items seized from the vehicle, did not belong to Stevens, said Johnson.
Stevens was a “small part of a larger, more sophisticated operation,” in the city, he said.
The minimum sentence for commercial trafficking in the NWT – set by the Court of Appeal of Alberta – is three years.
The offender’s lack of prior convictions – he came before the court as a first time offender – coupled with his guilty plea, led prosecutors and his lawyer, Peter Harte, to come to a joint-sentencing recommendation of two years.
Justice Louise Charbonneau accepted the recommendation Monday.
Harte told the court his client moved to Edmonton at age 20 to reconnect with his father after spending time in foster care in Ontario.
However, after seeking work in Yellowknife, Stevens became involved in the drug trade through his connections in Edmonton, said Harte.
“He has learned his lesson from the idiocy he got himself involved in here in Yellowknife,” said Harte, noting Stevens went back to school to study carpentry almost immediately after being released from custody in 2017.
Charbonneau said she wished Stevens had starting pursuing a career before succumbing to the temptations of the often lucrative drug trade in the North – an activity she called “immensely harmful,” to communities across the territory.
“We see a manifestation of it every day on the streets of Yellowknife,” said Charbonneau.
“There are many, many ways to make a living. This is not one of them,” she added. “There is a price to pay for those who get caught.”
Stevens spent just under a week in custody following his arrest, but, in an unusual turn, specifically requested not to receive credit for time spent in remand.
Typically, inmates are granted a credit of one and a half days for every day spent in pre-trial custody, but Harte, on behalf of his client, asked Charbonneau not to do so.
Stevens requested to serve his penitentiary sentence in a federal institution, so that he could be close to his partner who lives in Alberta – a request accepted by the court.
He must submit a sample of his DNA and his barred from possessing firearms for 10 years after his release.
Stevens and his partner shared a tearful embrace before RCMP officers escorted him from the Yellowknife courtroom and into custody.
The offender’s co-accused, Shiane Runcie, is scheduled to go to trial in October.