Wed | Dec 7, 2016

41-y-o woman gets one year for smuggling cocaine

Published:Saturday | September 20, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:One of the three St James women arrested on separate charges of attempting to export cocaine last month received a one-year prison sentence when she appeared in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's (RM) Court yesterday.

Forty-one-year-old Erica Wilson, of a Cornwall Court address, had previously pleaded guilty to possession of, dealing in, and attempting to export one and three-quarter pounds of cocaine. In addition to the prison term, she was ordered to pay fines amounting to $530,000, or spend up to nine more months in prison.

Reports are that on August 15, Wilson was preparing to board an outgoing flight at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, when she and two other women were stopped separately and searched. During the search, cocaine weighing a combined six pounds was found, and all three were arrested and charged.

The other two women arrested are 42-year-old Michelle Pearson and 40-year-old Tricia Fray. Pearson had previously pleaded guilty to trafficking two and three-quarter pounds of cocaine, when she appeared in court on August 21; while Fray, who was reportedly trafficking one and a half pounds of cocaine, will return to court on September 26.

PLEA FOR LENIENCY

Yesterday, Wilson's lawyer, Martyn Thomas, asked presiding magistrate Carolyn Tie to be lenient to his client, who he said undertook the attempt to carry the cocaine due to financial difficulties.

"She has accepted responsibility for what she has done, and she is ready to face the consequences."

In handing down the sentence, RM Tie chastised Wilson for taking part in a criminal enterprise.

"You made the decision to get involved in an activity which involves a dangerous substance. It is not a substance you would give your child to take," said RM Tie. "It has been established that there is a clear link between the crime situation in Jamaica and the drug situation. It is not persons with good intentions who do this."

In addition to the mandatory one-year prison term, Wilson was ordered to pay a fine of $150,000, or spend three months in prison, for possession of cocaine; $180,000, or three months, for dealing in cocaine; and $200,000, or three months, for attempting to export cocaine. The custodial sentences are to run consecutively if the fines are not paid.