The chief of the Key First Nation will have to step down from his post having pled guilty May 15 to an indictable offence at Court of Queen’s Bench in Regina.
Clarence Papequash was arrested in January 2011 as a result of a six-month undercover RCMP operation into prescription narcotics trafficking in Kamsack, Kamsack district, City of Yorkton, Yorkton rural area, Springside, Canora, and Pelly.
In court last Thursday, Yorkton federal prosecutor Shane Wagner outlined the Crown’s case based on a recording of a morphine transaction at Papequash’s Kamsack home obtained by a police informant wearing a wire.
A transcript of the tape indicated that the informant, accompanied by an undercover officer, set up a deal with Papequash for half a pill of morphine for $30.
The chief left and his wife, Donelda Brass, concluded the transaction. Brass was also arrested in the January busts and served three months in prison after pleading guilty.
In asking for a 12-month conditional sentence, Wagner cited aggravating circumstances of Papequash’s lengthy criminal record of 45 convictions dating to 1969 including assault, break and enter, theft, robbery, drug possession, impaired driving and uttering forged documents. The prosecutor did acquiesce that all but two of these had been prior to 1996.
Under the Crown’s recommendation, Papequash would spend the first four months of the sentence under house arrest and the final eight months with the standard conditions of release plus a curfew.
Wagner also requested the judge impose a 10 year firearms prohibition and instruct Papequash to provide a DNA sample to police.
Defence attorney Doug Andrews argued for a fine without probation or a suspended sentence with three to six months probation and no house arrest, curfew or DNA order.
Andrews cited mitigating circumstances that Papequash had turned away previous attempts by the informant and officer and pleaded guilty thus saving the court the time and expense of a trial.
Justice Jennifer Pritchard adjourned sentencing until July 4.