Taxi driver convicted of bootlegging


Luis Antonio “Tony” Martinez, 52, awaits sentencing after Justice Robert Kilpatrick found him guilty of bootlegging and violating the conditions of a probation order.

Two crown witnesses each said they bought two bottles of booze from Martinez on separate occasions.

Joe Morgan said he went to Martinez’s Apex home on Oct. 12, 2001 and paid $160 for a 66-ounce bottle of vodka.

After getting in a cab full of people, the vehicle was pulled over by Cst. Carole Giroux of the Iqaluit RCMP. She stopped the taxi after a tip from an officer who was monitoring Martinez’s house, Giroux said.

Defence lawyer Euan Mackay offered two reasons for the bottle leaving Martinez’s home. One explanation was that Martinez had lent Morgan the 66-oz bottle, and that police pressured him into making a false statement.

Mackay’s second theory was that the man came into the house and stole the bottle.

Kilpatrick called the latter theory “an affront to common sense.” He said it was “highly improbable” that a person stealing liquor would use a cab full of people as a getaway vehicle.

Another witness said she paid Martinez $110 for a 40-ouncer of vodka while he was driving for the Nanook taxi company on Aug 13, 2001.

Martinez denied under oath that the transaction took place.

But Kilpatrick had a low opinion of Martinez’s credibility.

“I reject much of the accused’s testimony [which] was deliberately designed to paint the Crown witness in a bad light,” he said.

In finding Martinez guilty of the two counts of illegal liquor sales, he was found guilty of breaching a July 19 probation order to keep the peace.

Sentencing is set for Jan. 8, 2003.

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