A BVI Belonger who was arrested and charged for attempting to smuggle marijuana out of St. Vincent, was sentenced to six months imprisonment in that Caribbean country.
It was reported that the man, identified as 21 year-old Kemiah Nichols, was at the Argyle International Airport when police discovered that he had 16 grammes of marijuana in his possession.
Nichols, who is said to be of Vincentian heritage and was in St. Vincent for a relative’s funeral, was arrested and charged with drug possession with intent to supply, as well as drug transportation and trafficking.
During his arraignment before Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court in late June, he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The Prosecution informed the court that it would not contest a bail request, provided that Nichols surrendered his travel documents and that the matter be adjourned and transferred to the Serious Offences Court.
It was noted that Nichols in turn informed the court that he wanted to change his plea to guilty.
IWitness News St. Vincent in relating the facts of the case, stated that around 6:45 a.m., Police Constable Murray was on duty at the departure security checkpoint at the airport. While there, he observed the security officers searching the defendant’s luggage in the presence of the defendant.
The officer saw what appeared to be a sprite can in the luggage and this aroused his suspicion.
“Checks of the can found that it was empty, but appeared to have a secret compartment. The police officer searched the luggage and found the drug in one of Nichols’ pants pockets,” the report stated.
Under caution, Nichols told the officer, “I forgot those in my pocket”.
During his court appearance, Senior Magistrate Burnett told Nichols, “You come for funeral of a family member and found yourself where you leave airport with drugs! Explain that to me.”
In response, the defendant said, “Last night I was out. When I got back, I picked up some clothes and started to pack. Was at the airport I realised I had some marijuana in my pants pocket. I had no intention of carrying it.”
The Senior Magistrate informed Nichols that the law of St. Vincent and the Grenadines stipulates that possession of more than 16 grammes of marijuana would attract charges of possession with intent to supply for drug trafficking.
The Magistrate pointed out that the most aggravating factor was that Nichols was found with the marijuana at the airport.
“If you are going to deal with drugs, there are consequences once you are caught. Marijuana is still illegal,” Magistrate Burnett announced.
Nichols was sentenced to six months for the drug trafficking, three months for drug transportation, and reprimanded and discharged on the drug possession charge. His sentences will run concurrently.