Semi-automatic handgun, sawed-off shotgun, cocaine trafficking sentencing

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(THUNDER BAY, ON) – On March 29th, 2018 around 11:08 am, 53 south Cumberland had a visit from the Guns and Gangs unit of the Thunder Bay Police Service. They raided the apartment via a Controlled Drugs and Substances Act warrant.

Police had received information through the intelligence unit that two Toronto area people were trafficking cocaine.

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A then 20-year-old male Monroe Blackwood and a then 21-year-old female Denny Habtom from Toronto were arrested without incident. A loaded semi-automatic handgun and a sawed-off shotgun with ammunition were seized.

Habtom’s semi-automatic handgun

Police seized a sawed-off shotgun, loaded semi-automatic handgun, and ammunition. Cocaine and crack were also confiscated at an estimated worth of $4000, along with $7000 in cold hard cash.

Both suspects are facing numerous drugs and firearms offences and were been detained in custody at the time. Denny Habtom would go on to never seek a bail hearing.

Appearing in courtroom 103 on November 29th, 2019 is a 22-year-old Denny Habtom, of the Greater Toronto Area. Her Worship, Justice Pelletier is presiding.

Provincial Crown Attorney Derrick Silvestro is going to be prosecuting the case, along with Federal Crown Attorney Arturo Acosta. Habtom’s criminal defence lawyer is Brian Greene.

Habtom pleads guilty to numerous charges. Those charges are:

  • Possession for the purpose of trafficking (cocaine)
  • Possession of proceeds of crime over $5000 (cash)
  • Careless storage of a firearm x2 (semi-automatic handgun & sawed off shotgun)
  • Possessing a loaded restricted firearm (semi-automatic handgun)
  • Possessing a firearm together with readily accessible ammo
  • Possession of a restricted weapon (sawed off shotgun)

ADMITTED FACTS

Upon police entering the residence during the raid of 53 Cumberland Street South, police announced their presence and located Monroe Blackwood laying down in a bed. Shortly after that, Denny Habtom was located in the bathroom

During the police search of the residence, a loaded semi-automatic .45 calibre handgun was located in a top dresser drawer in the same room where Blackwood was located, the firearm being only a few feet away from him at the time of his arrest. A further search of that bedroom located a sawed-off shotgun was located with 11 rounds of ammunition in the closet.

Habtom’s sawed-off shotgun

In the same area of the closet, police located 170 live rounds of .22 calibre rimfire ammunition.

None of the firearms were locked or stored in a safe manner. The handgun was easily accessible. The shotgun’s serial number was ground off and was unreadable.

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A further search of the dresser in the same bedroom revealed 3 separate bundles of currency. The total value of the cash was just over $7000. Police also located 5.5 grams of hard (crack cocaine) and 2 bundles of soft (cocaine), one bundle weighing 15.1 grams and 7.4 grams. The drugs and cash were located in the bottom drawer of the dresser that had the gun.

A digital scale was located in the living room, which had a white cocaine-like residue. Besides the scale were several clear plastic sandwich bags, a Greyhound travel receipt and 5 cell phones.

Police estimated the street value of the drugs to be $3900.

During the course of the arrest, Habtom indicated that she recently moved to Thunder Bay from Toronto, Ontario. She also said that she was not employed or attending school in Thunder Bay.

Habtom does not and did not have a license to possess these firearms.

DEFENCE SUBMISSIONS

Habtom admits all of the facts in the case, she is taking full responsibility and has not attempted to exercise her right to a bail hearing.

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The court hears that she has been doing very well at the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre, and defence lawyer submits a letter from an employee at the Correctional Centre, which testifies to how well she has been doing there.

Habtom doesn’t want to use her past traumas or struggles to try and explain her poor choices. She knows what she did was wrong, and tells the court she has learned from her lesson.

She does, however, make it clear that she is not a drug addict, and never used any of the drugs in the home.

SENTENCE

Habtom is sentenced to 3 years in jail for the firearms offences which will be followed by 1 year for the drug offences. This is Habtom’s first convictions, she has no criminal record and has just been handed a 4 year penetentiary sentence.

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She is ordered to forfeit ownership of the drugs and guns. Habtom is also placed on a 10-year weapons ban and must submit her DNA.

Habtom is ordered not to contact Monroe Blackwood while in custody as well.

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Habtom requests to goto the Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener, Ontario, as she has no family in Thunder Bay, all of her family is in southern Ontario.

The Justice tells Habtom that she does not have the jurisdiction to order that, but she can make a request for her to goto that institution.

Habtom is escorted back out of the prisoner’s box and sent into the basement jail cells of the Thunder Bay Courthouse.

Citizen journalist born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I like pizza and reporting on concerning events that are in my home region, or that impact it. You can read more by clicking here.

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