Tourist stashed $95,430 of cannabis inside coat hangers

An American tourist who imported nearly $100,000 of cannabis resin into Bermuda has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Renard Corley, 54, of Chicago, admitted smuggling 954.3 grams of the drug on a January 24 flight to Bermuda.

He denied a further charge of possession with intent to supply.

Crown counsel Tawana Tannock told Magistrates’ Court Corley arrived at LF Wade International Airport on Monday.

He collected a large suitcase and told an inspector at HMS Customs he was in Bermuda for a three-day vacation.

The officer asked if he had swallowed or was carrying drugs, which Corley denied.

The officer found five jackets on hangers inside the suitcase. He also noticed there was a strong smell of paint.

Corley said he had needed the jackets because of cold weather in the US.

An X-ray revealed foreign objects inside the hangers. Corley claimed they had been given to him by “this old lady”.

Officers from the police drugs unit broke open a hanger and found it contained a brown tar-like substance.

Interviewed under caution at Hamilton Police Station, Corley said he had been offered $3,000 to bring the drugs into Bermuda.

He said he had received payment from an unidentified man, and had been told to check into his Bermuda hotel and wait for someone to call and collect the hangers.

Ms Tannock said the cannabis resin would have sold for $95,430 in Bermuda.

Corley’s lawyer Rick Woolridge asked the court for a minimal sentence.

“We are now in hard economic times, and we’re seeing people who had no involvement with drugs before taking stupid chances,” he said.

Corley told the court he was an unemployed chef going through hard times back in the US.

“I have a daughter. I have a fiancee going out in the snow every morning, I’ve been shovelling snow, doing anything to make it,” he said.

Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo told Corley he had gambled: “You took a chance. With a chance, you can either win or lose, and you have lost.”

Mr Tokunbo said he believed Corley had wanted to help his family, adding: “Now you have got to pay the price, and the price is high.”

He then sentenced Corley to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.

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Published Jan 28, 2011 at 8:45 am (Updated Jan 28, 2011 at 8:44 am)

Tourist stashed $95,430 of cannabis inside coat hangers

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