By Shurtz, Delon on February 11, 2020.
A 26-year-old Lethbridge man who sold cocaine to undercover police officers more than a year ago has known since last November he was headed for prison.
Then on Monday in Lethbridge provincial court Peter Ntignee was sentenced to 30 months in a federal penitentiary.
Ntignee pleaded guilty Nov. 14 to single counts of drug trafficking and drug possession for the purpose of trafficking, but sentencing was adjourned to allow him time to get his personal affairs in order before going to prison.
During sentencing Monday, Ntignee sat quietly in the prisoner’s dock while his obviously distraught father sat only a few metres away, “grieving” over the sentence he knew would befall his son, yet hoping could somehow be avoided.
“He is sorry for what he’s done, he is remorseful for what he’s done,” defence lawyer David Chow told Judge Sylvia Oishi
But not because he was caught, Chow added.
According to an agreed statement of facts submitted to court following his guilty plea and read in court Monday, undercover officers met with Ntignee to discuss buying a vehicle he had posted on Kijiji. The officers later attended a party Sept. 8, 2018, at the Polish Canadian Club, at which Ntignee was the DJ. Ntignee sold an officer one gram of cocaine for $60 and said he could buy more cocaine at a party he was hosting at his residence on the westside.
The following month an undercover officer contacted Ntignee on his cellphone and asked to buy one ounce of cocaine. Ntignee agreed and on Oct. 25 Ntignee met the officer in the parking lot of a northside pub where he provided his buyer with 22.5 grams of cocaine for $1,600.
Less than a month later an undercover officer met Ntignee at his residence, and the two men sat in Ntignee’s truck where the officer provided Ntignee with $1,100 cash for 13.9 grams of cocaine.
On Dec. 4, 2018 an undercover officer contacted Ntignee on his cellphone and arranged to buy nine ounces of cocaine for $17,000. The transaction was to take place two days later. However, after the deal was arranged, police raided Ntignee’s new home on the northside and caught him with 3.8 grams of powder cocaine, two grams of crack cocaine, and $3,125 cash as he was leaving the residence.
During a search of the residence police seized various documents bearing Ntignee’s name, 81 grams of cocaine powder, 37.6 grams of crack cocaine, digital scales containing cocaine residue, a measuring cup containing cocaine residue, plastic Baggies and packaging materials, and two cellphones, including the phone Ntignee used to arrange the sale of drugs to the undercover officer.
Chow told court he felt he had a defence had the case gone to trial, and he had previously filed a Charter notice. But, he conceded, defence would also have encountered some difficulties had the case gone to trial.
Chow pointed out his 25-year-old client has only a small criminal record, and no previous convictions for drug-related offences. He also had a promising future as a soccer player and, as a concrete layer, proved to be a hard worker. Chow also suggested it’s “very unlikely” Ntignee will ever return to court with drug charges.
Judge Oishi acknowledged the mitigating factors of the case, including Ntignee’s guilty plea, his young age and remorseful attitude. But she also pointed out the aggravating factors, and said Ntignee had an ongoing drug operation that included multiple incidents of trafficking to police officers. She also noted the harmful impact cocaine has on society and the need to denounce and deter drug trafficking.
With Ntignee’s guilty pleas to the two charges, the Crown withdrew additional charges of drug trafficking, possession of stolen property and breaches.
Police also arrested Stevie Campbell during their drug investigation. She pleaded guilty in October to charges of drug trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking, and was sentenced last month to 24 months in prison.
Follow @DShurtzHerald on Twitter