Cruise passengers fined for drug importation
Two cruise ship passengers were fined this morning after cannabis was found in their cabins.
Stephen Gotter, from Massachusetts, and Susan Cochran, from New Jersey, both pleaded guilty to importing the controlled drug in separate incidents.
The court heard that at around 7.30pm on Saturday, a stewardess on board the Norwegian Dawn entered Gotter’s cabin for the afternoon turndown and discovered a quantity of plant like material on a table.
She contacted the ship’s security, who in turn contacted the police. Gotter, 51, was arrested at around 1.25am the next day, and admitted that the drugs — 37.1 grams of cannabinoids and 15.9 grams of cannabis — belonged to him.
After pleading guilty to two counts of importing a controlled drug and one charge of possessing drug equipment, specifically a pipe, Gotter told the court: “I’m sorry. Where I come from, it’s legal. I use it medicinally.
“I had no intention of bringing it onto the island. It was just for in my cabin.”
Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo fined Gotter $1,000 for each of the importation offences and $300 for possessing the pipe.
Meanwhile, Cochburn, 44, was arrested after ship security conducted a search in her cabin at around 1.30pm on Sunday and found a pair of glass pipes and two ziplock bags, one containing 2.18 grams of cannabis and the other having trace amounts of the drug.
After pleading guilty to charges of importing cannabis and possessing drug equipment, Cochburn apologised to the court and the island, saying she was terminally ill.
“I use it for pain,” she said. “I don’t know what else to say.”
Mr Tokunbo noted her circumstances, but said that a conditional discharge would not be suitable as visitors need to be discouraged from bringing drugs into the island.
He fined her $300 for the cannabis, and a further $150 for her possession for the pipes.
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