Sun | Dec 9, 2018

Schoolboy Richie serving 10 years in US prison

Published:Wednesday | September 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett/Senior Gleaner Writer

Errol Cliff Richards, the once-feared Jamaican policeman popularly known as 'Schoolboy Richie', is now serving a 10-year prison sentence in the United States (US) after he admitted before a judge that he was part of a syndicate that attempted to import a shipment of cocaine into the state of New York.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York confirmed that the 120-month sentence was handed down on June 29 last year.

The spokesperson confirmed, too, that Richards has agreed to forfeit US$200,000, or approximately J$25 million, in cash that was seized by investigators.

The sentence was imposed two years after Richards stood before the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and pleaded guilty to charges of attempted importation and conspiracy to possess and distribute over five kilograms of cocaine, court records obtained by The Gleaner revealed.

'Schoolboy Richie' was indicted in June 2014 along with his co-defendant, Ronald Mohammed Noeranie Badloe.

"Can you tell me in your own words what you did to make you believe that you are guilty of those charges?" Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn asked the former Jamaican crime fighter during the June 30, 2015 sentencing hearing.

"Within the period of time alleged in the indictment [between 2012 and 2014], I agreed, with my co-defendants and others, to import and possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, which I knew would be transported from Mexico to Canada, through the United States, and I agreed to provide money to fund this transaction," he responded, according to a transcript of his sentencing hearing.

 

Delivery arrangement

 

"Additionally, at some point during these events, I agreed that these drugs would be first to be delivered to me in New York," Richards confessed.

If 'Schoolboy Richie' had opted to go to trial, prosecutors Emil Bove and Adam Fee revealed in court that there was overwhelming evidence against him.

"The government would rely on law-enforcement witnesses, cooperating witnesses and confidential sources, as well as recordings of meetings and telephone calls in which the defendant participated, as well as certain of his co-conspirators participated," Rove told Netburn.

"Together, the group associated a cocaine transaction that would involve in excess of five kilograms. That cocaine was to be transported from Mexico through the United States and into Canada. The government will establish, through the recordings and witness testimony, that the defendant agreed to facilitate that transfer here in the Southern District of New York."

Up to yesterday, Richards, 53, was listed as an inmate at the Pensacola Federal Prison Camp in the state of Florida.

"The court makes the following recommendation to the [US] Bureau of Prisons: That the defendant be incarcerated in the southeast region to facilitate visits with his family who live in the Miami area," the court ordered.

Richards is scheduled to be released on March 4, 2023, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com