Calgary man who sold cocaine in Yellowknife sentenced to 5 years in prison

An Alberta man has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison for trafficking cocaine in Yellowknife.

It was the second time Liban Mohammed, 29, was caught dealing the drug in the N.W.T. capital. He was convicted in 2015 of possessing 55 grams of crack for the purpose of trafficking and sentenced to 32 months in prison.

Mohammed was out on parole for that conviction in 2017, under orders to remain in Calgary, when police found Mohammed with almost 300 grams of cocaine stashed in a safe in the bedroom of a Yellowknife apartment.

“This tells me Mr. Mohammed only escalated his criminal behaviour after his conviction in 2015,” said Northwest Territories Supreme Court Justice Shannon Smallwood in her decision on Friday.

The key issue during the sentencing was Mohammed’s level in the drug trafficking ring he was part of. His lawyer argued that he was, what the law defines as, a commercial trafficker or retailer. The prosecutor said Mohammed was dealing the drug on a wholesale level.

Mr. Mohammed might want to reconsider coming back to the N.W.T. in the future.– Justice Shannon Smallwood

Smallwood agreed with the prosecutor. She said there was not much evidence about his drug trafficking during his trial. But she said it was obvious he was somewhere close to the top of the operation considering the amount of drugs he had, the $52,325 police found in the safe with the drugs, and other drug trafficking paraphernalia they found in the apartment.

Police also found evidence Mohammed had been sending money to his wife while he was in Yellowknife, despite being unemployed.

“There was no indication Mr. Mohammed had any legitimate reason for being in Yellowknife,” said Smallwood, later adding, “Mr. Mohammed might want to reconsider coming back to the N.W.T. in the future.”

The judge said there was nothing about Mohammed or the circumstances of his case to reduce his moral blameworthiness. He was convicted after going to trial. A background report on him prepared for the sentencing indicated Mohammed maintains he is innocent and plans to appeal his conviction.

With credit for the time he has already served, Mohammed has four years and 10 months left on his sentence.

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