A 59-year-old woman was yesterday sentenced to four years in prison and fined $6.5 million after she pleaded guilty to the possession of five pounds of cocaine, which she was trying to sneak on board a flight to New York.
Kristina Rampersaud pleaded guilty to the charge of cocaine possession when she appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan in Georgetown.
It was alleged that on September 15, 2017, at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), she had 2.318 kilogrammes (equivalent to five pounds) of cocaine in her possession.
Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) Prosecutor Konyo Sandiford told the court that on September 15, Rampersaud was an outgoing passenger on a Caribbean Airlines flight BW526 bound for JFK, New York.
She noted that Rampersaud had already checked in and proceeded to place her suitcase on the scanner when a CANU officer observed a suspicious image on the monitor.
The officer then requested to look at Rampersaud’s travel document and then removed the suitcase from the scanner to examine the luggage. A probe of the rear of the suitcase uncovered a white substance, which was suspected to be cocaine.
Rampersaud was immediately arrested and cautioned by CANU officers, whom she told that she was given the suitcase by a man to deliver at JFK.
Sandiford told the court that investigations are being carried out in relation to the supplier.
Rampersaud, who resides in Suriname, told the court that while travelling back to Guyana to look after her pension, she met a young woman in the bus from Suriname. She claimed that the young woman told her of “a fast way to make money.”
Rampersaud said she specifically asked if what the young woman was speaking about was related to drugs and the woman told her no. She further said that the young woman then proceeded to give her a number to make contact with a man.
Rampersaud added that the bus stopped at a snackette in Berbice, where she went to purchase snacks. Upon her return to the bus, she realised the young woman was gone.
Rampersaud further told the court that curiosity led her to call the number given to her and she got on to a man, who told her he was going to send her to New York. She was instructed to meet with him at Giftland Mall, which she did.
She added that the man told her to stay at a hotel instead of at her sister’s residence, where she was planning to stay. She said she was given a suitcase, which two young men were to collect at JFK.
“I can’t believe this is happening to me. This is the first time something like this is happening to me,” the woman told the court in a very apologetic manner, while also describing herself as a very sickly person.
Rampersaud was fined $6,285,000 and sentenced to four years in prison.