Ganja in suitcase ruins job opportunity

Ganja in his suitcase cost a Jamaican national $600 and the chance for a job in Cayman.

Moses Wilmot, 24, appeared in Summary Court on Wednesday. He pleaded guilty to importing eight grams of ganja, but told the court the drug was in a pocket of a pair of jeans in the suitcase. ‘I had no idea it was there,’ he said.

Questioned by Acting Magistrate Valdis Foldats, Wilmot said he was not a drug dealer. It was just the simple case that he did not remember the ganja was there when he packed.

Mr. Foldats said it was important that Wilmot understood the charges before pleading because the consequences were so serious.

In addition to importation, Wilmot was charged with possession of ganja and possession with intent to supply. With a conviction for any one of those offences, his chances of obtaining a job were probably less than zero, the magistrate said.

Further, the sentence for importation, more often than not, is a period in custody. Given the small amount and Wilmot’s immigration situation, he did not know what the sentence would be until he heard all of the facts.

Crown Counsel Gail Johnson said Wilmot was arrested at Owen Roberts International Airport on 10 November after arriving on a flight from Kingston.

A drug-detection dog alerted its handlers to the small suitcase Wilmot was pulling. Closer examination revealed a small packet wrapped in plastic inside a jeans pants pocket.

Wilmot admitted to officers it was his and had been in the pants for about two weeks, but he didn’t remember it was there.

Ms Johnson said the defendant was here to do landscaping and a work permit was in place. However, since the incident, the employers were taking a certain course.

The magistrate asked if these facts were true and Wilmot said yes. He added that he had worked here as a landscaper previously.

Officers confirmed that the defendant had no previous convictions.

In passing sentence, the magistrate said he was taking into account Wilmot’s previous good character and the fact that he had entered his plea without an attorney in a foreign country.

The magistrate was sure Wilmot realised his chance of finding employment was virtually nil and he took that into account because of its serious impact on the defendant’s future.

This country discourages the use of illegal drugs and discourages bringing them here. ‘Everyone has to know it’s prohibited and will be punished severely,’ he said. ‘The message has to be loud and clear – you just can’t do this.’

He asked if the defendant had any savings and was told no, not here.

The magistrate imposed a fine of $600 or 60 days in lieu of payment. He said Wilmot would have to stay in custody until the fine was paid, but Customs officers would assist him in contacting persons in Jamaica to send the money.

The fine was for importation, with no separate penalty for possession. Possession with intent was left on file.

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