Mom to be extradited to U.S on drug charges despite toddler
TORONTO — A Canadian woman wanted in the United States on drug charges should be extradited even though it means leaving her toddler behind, Ontario’s top court ruled on Tuesday. In upholding the surrender order, the Court of Appeal rejected arguments from Joanna Pakulski that Canada’s minister of justice had made mistakes. “The minister concluded that the applicant’s personal circumstances and the potential impact of her surrender on her child do not warrant refusing to honour Canada’s obligations to the United States,” the Appeal Court said in its decision. “Her surrender would not be ‘shocking to the Canadian conscience or unjust or oppressive.’” American authorities allege that Pakulski, of Toronto, was involved in the cross-border conspiracy to traffic hundreds of kilograms of marijuana from Canada into the United States between 2003 and 2007. They say her role was to collect cash from sales and bring it back to Canada. In March 2008, Canadian border authorities found US$59,540 hidden in her car. RCMP arrested Pakulski in June 2010 at an American request and she was ordered extradited in July 2012. However, the Appeal Court in January last year asked the government to take another look at her case because she’d had a baby. The government upheld the extradition order. Among other things, the justice minister rejected her arguments that turning her over to the U.S. would violate both her rights and those of her child.