Guyanese cousins sentenced in cocaine-smuggling case
The two Guyanese women who were arrested on April 4 for attempting to smuggle 21 pounds of cocaine out of Jamaica pleaded guilty in the St James Parish Court on Friday and were sentenced to 10 months in prison.
Cousins Oshaura Moses, a 21-year-old nail technician, and Abiki Moses, a 27-year-old cook, both of Georgetown, Guyana, were also ordered to pay a combined fine of $3 million or spend an additional six months in prison by presiding parish judge Sasha-Marie Ashley.
The women pleaded guilty to possession of, dealing in, and attempting to export cocaine. They pleaded not guilty to the charge of conspiracy to export cocaine, after which a no-evidence motion was entered by the prosecution in relation to that charge.
Attorney-at-law Henry McCurdy, who represented the two cousins, appealed to Judge Ashley to show leniency to his clients, saying both of them have families to care for had good characters previously.
“We have two young females in the dock before you this morning on serious charges, and this is their third day in court. They have come to the court remorsefully with their hands in the air, asking for mercy,” said McCurdy.
In handing down her sentence, Judge Ashley scolded the women.
“Before this grave error in judgement, you were of good repute, but this offence is very serious because it has other implications. Nothing good comes of it,” said the judge.
They were fined $1 million, or six months imprisonment for possession of cocaine, and $500,000, or six months, for attempting to export cocaine. If the fines are not paid, the custodial sentences are to run consecutively, meaning the women will spend 16 months behind bars.
The women were arrested and charged after the cocaine, which has a street value of $120 million, was found in their possession while they were making final preparation to board a flight destined for London, England.