Akeem John, a driver for Cevons Waste Manage-ment Inc, was yesterday sentenced to three years in jail for trafficking cannabis, which he was caught trying to smuggle into the Lusignan Prison on the East Coast of Demerara.
John, 25, of 114 Middle Walk, Buxton, East Coast Demerara, who was one of three workers held by police after a search of a company truck uncovered quantities of cannabis and cigarettes on Thursday, pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of narcotics for trafficking.
John told Magistrate Peter Hugh at the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court that he acted alone and that his co-workers were innocent. He said that he was paid to take the illegal substance into the prison and noted that he took the risk since he needed the money.
The first charge against him stated that on August 3rd, at the Lusignan Prison, he had 865.5 grammes of cannabis in his possession for trafficking. The second charge stated that on the same date and at the same place, he also had 24 grammes of cannabis in his possession for trafficking.
John, who had initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, later entered guilty pleas.
Police Prosecutor David Goodridge told the court that the illegal substance was found during a search by the Joint Services of the company truck, GWW 733, which was stopped as it entered the prison compound. At the time, John was the driver.
Goodridge said a parcel of cannabis was found on the floor of the truck. A further search was carried out on John and another parcel of cannabis was found in John’s jumpsuit.
Additionally, the prosecutor informed the court that John is expected to be arraigned for a third charge. He said the police are awaiting advice from the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions before proceeding with the charge.
John was sentenced to three years for each charge but the magistrate ordered that the sentences run concurrently. John, who was represented by an attorney attached to the Legal Aid Clinic, was also fined $30,000.
The Joint Services have been responsible for security at the prison in the wake of the transfer of almost 1,000 inmates to the facility and its holding areas following the destruction of sections of the Camp Street Prison on July 9. With some inmates transferred to other locations and others released on bail or freed, over 400 inmates remain in a specially constructed holding area outside of the prison, necessitating the heightened security at the site.
Cevons Waste Management Inc on Thursday said that it wished to make it clear that there was absolutely no connection between the company and the discovery of the cannabis. “This company will neither countenance nor condone infringements of the law,” it said in a statement, while distancing itself from any unlawful actions by the workers and indicating its’ support for the work of the law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety and security of the society.