Fri | Dec 2, 2016

Two more singers plead guilty in airport cocaine bust

Published:Tuesday | April 21, 2015 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas

WESTERN BUREAU:

As the case against the six entertainers who were arrested in a cocaine bust at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St James, last year continues to unfold, the two persons who had initially pleaded not guilty have now changed their pleas.

A conviction has now been recorded against them and they are to be sentenced in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court on May 14.

In court yesterday, Claudette Miller-Robinson, the former lead singer of the group Ebony, pleaded guilty to possession of, dealing in, and attempting to export one and a half pounds of cocaine, while Simone Bacchas, an entertainment manager, pleaded guilty to the same charges in relation to one and a half pounds of cocaine.

The two women submitted their guilty pleas after Resident Magistrate Natalie Hart-Hines was told that the defendants' forensic reports, which had been outstanding, confirmed that the substance that was reportedly found in their possession was cocaine.

"Given the time that has elapsed since they first came before the court, I wonder if we can get their social enquiry reports in four weeks," said Hart-Hines.

After conferral with attorney-at-law George Thomas, who is part of the women's defence team, the magistrate set the case for sentencing on May 14.

"Ms Bacchas is remanded in custody, and Mrs Miller-Robinson's bail is extended," Hart-Hines told the defendants.

Meanwhile, entertainer Kharell Wisdom, who was also in court for sentencing in the same case, was told that an additional week was needed to complete his social enquiry report. He is now to return for sentencing on May 1.

Wisdom had previously pleaded guilty in relation to three pounds and three ounces of cocaine.

Others sentenced

Two other members of the group, Garth Jobson and Ramone Rowe, pleaded guilty and were sentenced following their appearances before the Montego Bay RM Court on March 23. Jobson was sentenced to 14 months in prison and fined $100,000, while Rowe was sentenced to nine months in prison and fined $100,000.

The sixth defendant, Kevin Tapper, has also pleaded guilty to possession of, dealing in, and attempting to export cocaine, and is to be sentenced on Friday, April 24.

All six were arrested at the Montego Bay airport on December 18, 2014 after they were reportedly held with varying amounts of cocaine prior to boarding a flight out of Jamaica.

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com