A young Caymanian man will spend the next ten years in jail for an ill-conceived attempt to import cocaine, the proceeds from which he hoped to use to alleviate poverty in Honduras.
Jevon Mishak Nikelson, 21, of West Bay, was caught with 151 grams (5.31oz) of cocaine at Owen Roberts Airport on 18 June this year after returning on an Atlantic Airlines flight from Honduras.
Defence Attorney John Furniss told the Summary Court Thursday the situation was an unusual one; while Jevon accepted that what he was doing was wrong, he intended to send the proceeds from the cocaine back to Honduras after being badly affected by the abject poverty he saw there.
‘He felt he could do some good for others and all it has done is bring down the sword on his head,’ Mr. Furniss said. ‘No one in Honduras benefited from his arrest.’
He said his client’s actions demonstrated a level of naivety; Jevon didn’t have much of a plan for selling the cocaine and didn’t seem to know who to sell it to.
Mr. Furniss accepted that Jevon was looking at a lengthy sentence for an offence that, in his mind, he had thought would bring some good.
Mr. Furniss asked Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale to consider discounting Jevon’s sentence based on his early confession and guilty plea, his age, his lack of any previous involvement with drug importation and his virtuous – though misguided – intent.
But the magistrate said when people deal in cocaine they deal in the destruction of people. She said she could not consider Jevon’s age as a mitigating factor in sentencing or it could lead other young men to be targeted for drug trafficking missions.
‘If you get caught there is a serious price to pay,’ she said.
At 21, Jevon was old enough to know better, she said, adding his sentence had to send a strong message of deterrence.
‘Many people die in the drug trade; you have to deal with people of questionable character and its dangerous to the people to whom it is sold,’ she said.
The sentencing guidelines dictated that his sentence had to start at 15 years, but the magistrate subtracted five years. Mr. Furniss gave immediate notice of his client’s intention to appeal the sentence.