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Costa Rican fined for bullet in bag

Published:Saturday | August 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM


A Costa Rican businessman who admitted to possessing a bullet that was found in his luggage was slapped with a fine of $250,000 when he appeared in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

Thirty-four-year-old Blas Humberto Montoya Palacios, of San José in Costa Rica, pleaded guilty to illegal possession of ammunition. He was ordered to pay the fine or spend 45 days behind bars.

The court was told that on August 8, at approximately 10:25 a.m., Palacios was at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, preparing to board a flight to Costa Rica. His luggage was subjected to a routine search and the bullet found in a knapsack inside his bag.

Palacios was subsequently taken out of the line and interviewed by the police. Under caution, he reportedly said, "I don't know where it (the bullet) came from," and he was arrested and charged.

Following Palacios's guilty plea on Tuesday, his attorney Nicole Allen asked presiding magistrate Carolyn Tie to be lenient to the defendant.

"I ask that you take into consideration Mr Palacios's early plea of guilty as he does not wish to waste the court's time. He flew to Montego Bay to attend the Dream Weekend in Negril ... while in Negril, he spent much of his time out of his room," said Allen.

"He still maintains that he does not know how this one round of ammunition got into his bag, but he is not wasting the court's time ... he is taking full responsibility for what has happened," Allen added.

- Christopher Thomas