Acting Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry sentenced a 21-year-old British national who ingested cocaine for the purpose of trafficking to four years jail and fined him $30,000 after he pleaded guilty to the charge.
According to the facts of the case, Nishit Nitin Patel, of Lot 18 Atlee Close, Thornton Heath England, on December 31, had 352 grammes of cocaine in his possession at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport. He pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to him. In his defence, he told the court, “Your Worship, my mother was having a very hard time back home. My mum was going to get kicked out the house because she could not pay the rent, so I decided to come down here and make some money to help her out.”
Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) Prosecutor Oswald Massiah said that on December 27, Patel travelled to Guyana under the pretext of a vacation and stayed at the Sunflower Hotel. On December 31, the defendant was returning to England and had checked in at the CJIA for a flight to London via Barbados but the flight was cancelled, forcing him to travel on a subsequent flight.
Massiah said that while Patel was passing through the lounge area to board that flight he was observed by the CANU officers who questioned him. Patel said he felt unwell and further admitted that he had ingested 29 pellets of cocaine while he was at his hotel. He was subsequently arrested and taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital where an x-ray examination revealed that a foreign object suspected to be cocaine was in his stomach. He was admitted to the hospital and subsequently excreted the pellets which were weighed, tested and revealed to be cocaine. Massiah then told the court that records indicate that the accused had also travelled to Guyana in November.
In handing down the sentence, the magistrate noted that the defendant is at an age of accountability and knows the consequences of his actions. The court took into consideration the prevalence and seriousness of the offence, but noted that Patel saved the court’s time by admitting to the offence.