By Alfa · Nov 21, 2004 ·
  1. Alfa

    An Italian woman who, along with her boyfriend, imported nearly 40,000 ecstacy tablets into Canada last year and fled mid-trial, was sentenced Thursday in absentia to six years in jail.

    Provincial court Judge Heather Lamoureux said it was an aggravating factor that Marike Orazio, 23, who was charged with importing 20,242 tablets of the drug officially known as MDMA, failed to return after being given permission to return to Italy during a break in proceedings.

    Lamoureux also sentenced Gianluca Comesino, 28, to 61/2 years last month for possession of 19,636 tablets for the purpose of trafficking.

    It was one of the largest imports of ecstacy at Calgary International Airport.

    The street value of the blue-and-white pills, found in their luggage when they arrived from Frankfurt, was $792,720 if sold individually, or $317,000 if sold in lots of 1,000.

    "Both accused . . . are absconding," Lamoureux said in her written judgment. "Neither accused expressed any remorse to the court for their actions.

    "In fact, the accused, Ms. Orazio, even after convicted expressed no remorse for her actions. In a letter directed to the court, Ms. Orazio indicates that she is getting on with her life in Italy. None of the statements made by Ms. Orazio, filed as part of the sentencing brief of the defence, are mitigating."

    Defence lawyer Hersh Wolch had sought a prison sentence of 31/2 years.

    Crown prosecutor Jon Healy, who initially argued for six years, later agreed to a joint submission of 31/2 years.

    Lamoureux rejected the joint submission, saying it was "demonstrably unfit," and imposed a higher penalty.

    The judge said ecstacy is a central nervous stimulant which synthetically creates euphoria in the user and can lead to adverse toxic side-effects, including dehydration, increased heart rate, hypothermia, and in severe cases kidney failure.

    "The importation of drugs in contravention of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act poses a threat to the health and welfare of Canadians,"

    said Lamoureux.

    The Attorney General of Canada has sought in separate proceedings to have the couple expedited back from Italy to face their prison time.

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