Woman sentenced to three years in drug-smuggling case
A woman charged in a cross-border drug-smuggling operation has been sentenced to a three-year jail term.
Kali Henifin, 27, of Bellingham previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute ecstasy.
She was due to be sentenced on Aug. 1, the same day that her boyfriend Ryan Lambert received a two-year sentence for the same offence, but she failed to show up in court and a warrant was issued for her arrest.
Henifin was then sentenced on Aug. 8 in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Lambert and Henifin were arrested and charged in April 2013 for their role in a drug operation that involved co-accused Nathan Hall and Jeffrey Laviolette of B.C. walking through a forested area from Abbotsford into Washington with two bags containing almost 60 pounds of ecstasy.
The pair were spotted by U.S. border agents, and Laviolette was arrested at the scene. Hall got away, launching an overnight manhunt involving authorities on both sides of the border, and was arrested the next morning at a residence in Abbotsford.
Lambert and Henifin were convicted for having made arrangements to pick up the ecstasy and transport the drugs to San Francisco, even though the plans fell through.
The two had apparently picked up Laviolette in a previous smuggling venture, according to U.S. court documents.
Documents from Henifin’s sentencing indicate that she has been battling a drug addiction since the age of 14. She has three children by three different fathers and does not have custody of any of them.
The documents state that in the 15 months since her arrest, she had avoided drug use and was working.
Reference letters submitted to the courts for her sentencing included one from Lambert, who described Henifin as a “caring and compassionate woman” whom he met three years ago when she was working for a car dealership in Bellingham.
He wrote that Henifin often put herself before others and has felt “shame, guilt, pain and disgust” about her actions leading to her arrest and charges.
“She has expressed to me her desire to put this all in the past, remain sober and be the mother, daughter and significant other that she knows she can be,” Lambert wrote.
Laviolette was sentenced to a 10-year U.S. jail term in December for his role in the drug operation. Hall is still in Canada facing other charges, and the process is ongoing to extradite him to the U.S. for the drug-smuggling case, for which he faces five charges.