Couple gets $58M fine, 120 months jail for cocaine trafficking
By Leroy Smith
Today (Monday, March 6, 2017) Magistrate Judy Latchman handed down a sentence of sixty months each and a fine of approximately $58 million dollars to a couple who in 2015 attempted to pass cocaine in envelopes and suitcases through the VIP lounge of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).
The sentence was handed down to Robhina Basdeoram and Mahendra Ramsuchit. Also appearing in court was Kenneth Jones, a former personal assistant to Former Minister of Agriculture under the PPP administration, Ali Baksh.
Jones was freed of all charges and had his case dismissed on the grounds that there were others working at the airport with the same name, as well as the fact that his defense argued that all he did was assisted in granting VIP passes without knowing what were in the cases.
Today in summing up her judgment, Magistrate Judy Latchman told the two accused that her decision for the amount of the fine has to do with the street value of the cocaine, the manner in which the cocaine was concealed, the organised manner in which the efforts were carried out, the seriousness of the offence and a message to deter others from committing the same offence.
After hearing the decision this morning, Jones ran out of the court room and yard screaming that he was a free man. He was however ordered back into the courtroom as he needed to sign a few documents so that his freedom can be documented.
Lawyers for the couple argued that they have three children together with the youngest being six months and is still required to breast feed. The court was also told that the parents have no one else to leave the children with.
The magistrate admitted that the concerns of the counsels were taken into consideration by the court. She however went ahead and handed down her sentence.
Back in 2015 the cocaine was destined for Toronto where the couple was getting ready to travel via a Fly Jamaica Flight OJ 157.