US woman jailed for 4 years over cocaine in shoes

Magistrate Sueanna Lovell handed down the sentence at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court, after Nakeia Slade, 30, pleaded guilty to the charge of possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking. A $300,000 fine was also imposed against Slade, a mother of two who told the court that all she wanted was to go home to her children.

Slade, who resides at 324 Howard Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, was accused of having in her possession two kilograms of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking on October 5 at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Timehri.

Slade arrived in Guyana on September 27 for a vacation. During her stay, she resided at the Tourist Villa in the Subryanville, then she subsequently left and stayed at the Hick’s Ville Hotel for two days.

Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) Prosecutor Oswald Massiah told the court that Slade, who was an outbound passenger, was held after her luggage was scanned by CANU officers at the airport. At the time, she had in her possession a bag and a suitcase. The scanner showed something unusual in the bag, which prompted the officers to check and as a result three pairs of ladies shoes were discovered. On checking one of the shoes, the officers noted that it was unusually heavy and this prompted them to pierce the soles of the shoes and they discovered a white powdery substance which they suspected to be cocaine.

Massiah further said that the suitcase was subsequently checked and seven pairs of ladies shoes were discovered and in each of the said pairs the white powdery substance which was also suspected to be cocaine was found. The defendant was informed of the suspicion but she remained silent, he added.  The prosecutor said that the accused was arrested and taken to CANU headquarters along with the ten pairs of shoes she had in her possession. The soles were removed from each shoe where the white powdery substance was discovered and weighed in the presence of the defendant.

She then attempted to give a description of an individual whom she said brought the shoes to her, but no one was identified to match the description, Massiah said.

The accused told the CANU officers that she was taken to a shoe store in the city, where she purchased shoes that fit her. She then went back to her hotel, where she gave someone the shoes and they were returned to her and she placed them in the luggage and headed to the airport, Massiah concluded.

When given a chance to speak, a seemingly remorseful Slade said: “I was told that I was coming to Guyana to meet someone… I never known this was going to happen, but I take all of the blame. I ain’t gonna blame it on no one but myself. I am sorry, it won’t happen again… All I want is to go home to my two kids.”

In handing down the sentence the magistrate took into consideration the seriousness of the offence, while noting also that the accused must have known what was happening all along. However, the magistrate also considered the fact that the accused did not waste the court’s time when she pleaded guilty to the charge.

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