Three sentenced in cocaine conspiracy

Three people were sentenced Wednesday after admitting they conspired with Alexander Adrian Ebanks to supply controlled drugs. Ebanks was sentenced last month to 6 1/2 years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to offenses that included seven charges of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs.

Christopher Khan, 27, and Christopher Philip Bodden, 21, each received terms of 28 months after being described as low-level street dealers. Justice Michael Mettyear used a starting point of four years, but gave them credit for mitigating factors plus a full one-third discount for their early guilty pleas.

Jaesha Hendrix, 22, received a term of nine months after a discount of one-fourth.

None of the three had any previous convictions.

Justice Mettyear began the sentencing session by giving his decision on Hendrix’s basis of plea. She had shared an apartment with Ebanks, who was her boyfriend. She had said she purchased small bags for Ebanks while in Florida; she believed he wanted them for supplying ganja and she did not know about hard drugs.

The judge pointed out that Ebanks had been deeply involved in the drug scene and had talked to a number of people about it. He found it difficult to accept that Ebanks would not have talked to Hendrix about it or that she would not have worked out what was going on. He rejected her evidence that she did not import the bags found in their apartment because those bags looked just like the ones she had taken photos of and then sent to Ebanks. He said he was satisfied that she imported the bags Ebanks used to package hard drugs.

Crown counsel Eleanor Fargin explained the involvement of Khan and Bodden. She said after Ebanks’s arrest in October 2015, his cellphones were analyzed by police. They looked at his WhatsApp and found communications with these two men. (Previously, Ms. Fargin had noted that 56 individual “customers” had been identified.)

Defense attorney Laura Larner called Khan’s dealing very minor. On one occasion, she said, he tried to obtain a particular type of ecstasy tablet for a particular person and another time he intended to make a quick buck by selling the cocaine for more than he had bought it for.

Khan had worked at a bank and converted CI$1,000 into US$1,200 for Ebanks. This was an offense of converting criminal property. As a result, Khan lost his job and his career at the bank. He had started taking cocaine every couple of weeks at the weekend after separating from his wife, Ms. Larner said. But he has since done everything he could to rehabilitate himself; he had found another job and now lived a quiet, responsible life.

“He has done everything for himself that a rehabilitative sentence would achieve,” she summarized. The attorney asked for a suspended sentence so that his rehabilitation would not be derailed.

Attorney Jonathon Hughes spoke for Bodden, whose offending took place over a nine-week period. Mr. Hughes said there had been six text messages involving Bodden – four agreeing to purchase cocaine, one for ganja, and one about the drug selling quickly.

Mr. Hughes said Bodden was a user and then began dealing to fund his own habit. There was nothing to suggest he was anything other than a low-level street dealer.

In passing sentences, Justice Mettyear said he bore in mind the sentence he had given to Ebanks, which had been heavily influenced by the principle of totality (with numerous sentences running concurrently).

He said these three defendants had lost their good names. Khan had lost a good job also. Hendrix was not selling drugs but she knew full well what Ebanks was doing; her guilty plea was spoiled by putting forth a false basis of plea. For that reason, her discount was less than the others.

Four other defendants pleaded not guilty last month to being in a conspiracy with Ebanks. Their matters have not yet been heard.