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Princeton woman gets five months for drug trafficking

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
August 08, 2016 - 6:30 PM

PENTICTON - A Princeton woman will spend another three-and-a-half months in prison after she was sentenced for on a string of breach and drug charges in Penticton court today.

Natasha Patrice Clifton entered guilty pleas on three charges of drug possession, four breach of recognizance and three drug trafficking charges, Aug. 8, after being jailed on June 22.

Federal Crown Prosecutor Matthew Canzer told court Clifton’s troubles first began on Feb. 5, 2016, when a police patrol in downtown Penticton observed a GMC Jimmy with Manitoba plates stopped at a residence. A check of the plates revealed they belonged to different vehicle.

Police pulled the Jimmy over when it left the residence a few minutes later. Among the three occupants was Clifton, who originally claimed the vehicle was hers, but recanted her story minutes later.

Suspicious the vehicle was stolen, police investigated the vehicle and the occupants, finding containers in Clifton’s purse that contained 0.62 grams of methamphetamine, 0.14 grams of cocaine and a third container with traces of methamphetamine.

A small box containing 46 fentanyl tablets was also found on Clifton’s person, who was arrested and later released on a condition she stay out of Penticton.

On April 24, 2016, a police officer conducting a traffic stop on Forestbrook Drive found Clifton behind the wheel of a Chevy Cavalier. She was arrested and again released, this time under conditions not to appear in Penticton in addition to being subject to a curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

On April 6, and again on May 17, officers conducting a curfew check at Clifton’s Panorama Cresent in Princeton home found her absent from the residence during her curfew period.

On June 22, police spotted Clifton at a Penticton Avenue residence, again in breach.

She was arrested and searched, and found to have in her possession a folding knife and a quantity of drugs, including 9.33 grams of meth, 0.71 grams of cocaine and 3.03 grams of heroin.

Canzer asked Judge Gale Sinclair for a total of 35 days on the the breach and possession charges, and six months for the drug trafficking charges.

Defence lawyer Robert Maxwell told court his client was 24-years-old, single and had made the mistake of “hanging around with the wrong crew.”

He said she admitted to using meth every day in the year leading up to her arrest.

“She had to run until she ran out of rope,” he said, noting she came from a good family and was sensible to speak with when the methamphetamine was out of her system. He called Crown’s submission of six months “a little bit high end,” asking the judge to consider a lesser sentence on the trafficking charge.

“I hope you’re going to give up some of your past associations,” Judge Sinclair told Clifton, handing down a sentence of 150 days for drug trafficking, and 35 days on the remaining charges.

With credit for time served Clifton has another 113 days left behind bars. She also faces probation for a year once out of jail with conditions not to drink alcohol or use drugs.

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