Alleged Guyanese drug mule held at NY hotel to change not guilty plea

Jermaine Smartt, the Guyanese man who had earlier this year admitted to smuggling cocaine into the United States by swallowing 39 pellets filled with the drug, but later pleaded not guilty, is expected to change his plea come early next month.

According to court documents seen by this newspaper, Smartt, who was nabbed in a New York hotel in April, is expected to enter a guilty to plea on September 15, before Justice M J Reyes.

Smartt had initially pleaded not guilty, but through his lawyers, has indicated his willingness to plead guilty.

Stabroek News had earlier reported that Smartt was found at the JFK Inn, located in New York, on April 6, with 37 of the pellets already excreted.

Documents had revealed that agents went to Smartt’s hotel room as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation. It was searched as was a locked suitcase, with his consent.

In the suitcase, US agents found the 37 pellets, which subsequently field-tested positive for cocaine. Smartt was then arrested and transported to the JFK medical facility to determine whether he had any foreign bodies in his intestinal tract.

He subsequently admitted that he believed there were two additional pellets he had not yet passed. He also is said to have admitted that he travelled to the US from Guyana on April 5, having swallowed the pellets discovered inside the suitcase. He said he had been paid US$3,500.

He was detained at the facility until he passed out the remaining pellets.

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