The first person convicted in Operation Razorback told provincial court Judge David Orr Tuesday, prior to his sentencing, that he intends to go back to school and turn his life around.
Andrew Green of Victoria, B.C. turned 19 Sept. 14, making him the youngest member of a suspected crime ring arrested in Newfoundland in January.
Green was one of 13 people named in the drug bust. He was charged with one count of possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. Others in the case face drug, money laundering and criminal organization charges.
Orr sentenced Green to an additional eight months in prison, taking into consideration the 9-1/2 months he’s already spent in custody. He was given two-for-one credit for that time — the equivalent of 19 months — making his total sentence 27 months.
Changes to the law that came into effect after Green’s arrest mean judges will no longer have the discretion to routinely grant double credit for time spent on remand.
Defence lawyer Erin Breen told the court Green, a member of the aboriginal Mahamalillikulla band, had a difficult childhood.
She said there were multi-generational issues that affected him, including residential schooling and having abandonment issues within his family.
Breen suggested that’s why Green gravitated to the members of the suspected drug ring because, they became his peer group and support system. Now, with the right supports, Breen said her client has shown a propensity to succeed academically.
Seeming interested in his family situation, Orr asked who Green had been living with in B.C. before coming to Newfoundland.
Green, who was shackled and sitting on the prisoner’s bench, stood up and politely addressed Orr, telling him he had been living with his grandmother and attending school before coming to the province.
“I plan on going back to school and will probably stay with my father,” he said.
“He’s also taking care of my nephew,” Green continued, explaining that his sister “used to be struggling” and is now on the streets.
Green said his father is going to university and has plans to get married soon.
“My sister gave birth to another child and he’ll likely be raising her, too,” he added.
“This whole situation has been very overwhelming for me,” Green said of his involvement in Operation Razorback.
“I’ve had a lot of time to think about where I’m going to be headed. I plan on going on further with my education and getting my life together.”
Breen and Crown Prosecutor Andrew Brown agreed to Green serving an additional eight months in prison.
“Because of the seriousness of the offence, there is no alternative to incarceration,” Breen said.
Brown said Green’s involvement, however, was distinguishable from the others in the drug ring. He said it appears Green’s role was to come to St. John’s to provide “a degree of assistance” and guard a “stash house,” but this scenario still has the potential for violence.
Brown also pointed out that the charge against Green was in connection with a kilogram of cocaine found in the master bedroom of the house Green was arrested in, unlike the larger amounts of drugs and weapons found with other drug ring members who are facing charges.
Brown agreed with Breen that, because of a troubled childhood, it seemed Green’s new friends became his surrogate family.
The Crown and defence lawyers disagreed on one issue Monday — the duration of a firearms prohibition. Brown asked for a lifetime ban, while Breen asked for 10 years, given Green’s age.
Orr agreed with Breen, saying a lifetime prohibition for someone so young would be severe.
“In this case, given your age, I think the 10-year-period is sufficient,” Orr said.
He must also provide a DNA sample.
Orr also told Green he didn’t want him to leave the courtroom with the impression that what he had done was not serious.
Orr said Green was involved in a very large illegal operation, which is “something that shouldn’t be minimized.”