Cocaine trafficker jailed for 11 years

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A 24-year-old drug trafficker was jailed yesterday for 11 years after trying to smuggle nearly $500,000 worth of cocaine into Bermuda.

Charmari Burns was caught red-handed with the drugs hidden in secret compartments in his luggage as he arrived at LF Wade International Airport last year.

Acting Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe said in Supreme Court when he passed sentence that the prevalence of drugs in Bermuda had torn apart the social fabric of the community.

He added: “It is at the core of many of our social ills. Those who import drugs do so with scant regard for the results of their actions.

“Families have been destroyed and dreams have been dashed. Sentences must be serious enough to deter.”

The court heard that Burns of Friswell’s Hill, Pembroke, had left Bermuda on October 9, last year and travelled to Trinidad and Tobago through the United States.

More than $10,000 was transferred into his bank account while he was away — and a large part of that sum was withdrawn from cash points in the Caribbean.

Burns returned to Bermuda on October 22 last year through New York and was detained after a police sniffer dog alerted customs officers to traces of contraband on his two bags.

The suitcases were searched and found to contain nearly 1.7kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of $465,607.

The drugs were stashed in various parts of the bags including the wheel wells, the handles and the lining.

Burns was interviewed by police but answered “no comment” to all questions before he later pleaded guilty to importing the drugs into Bermuda.

Yesterday he apologised for his actions, and specifically said sorry to his mother.

He added: “I am hoping to come out of jail a better person, and will stick to the guidelines.”

Defence lawyer Liz Christopher told the Supreme Court that Burns had felt he had “no other choice” but to take part in the smuggling operation.

She said: “This was the worst decision of his life. He feels ashamed at having not followed the example his mother set.

“He is a guy that has been trying for a long, long time.”

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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