Woman admits importing $126,000 in cocaine

A mother who admitted bringing $125,000 of cocaine into Bermuda was jailed for seven years yesterday.

Deja Anee Richardson, 26, said she knew her suitcase contained hidden drugs, but believed the drug was cannabis not cocaine. She told Supreme Court: “I just want to apologise to the court and my family for putting them through this.”

The court heard that on October 26, 2017, the Pembroke resident flew from the island to New Jersey via New York.

She returned the next day with a suitcase and was selected for a secondary search.

When her bag was X-rayed, officers noticed a suspicious discrepancy around its frame.

A further examination of the suitcase revealed 11 packages hidden in the pull handle, wheel housing and the frame of the case. Tests showed the packages contained a total of 522.07 grams of cocaine with an estimated street value of $125,875.

Richardson told police at the time: “I made a dumb mistake trusting people.”

Maria Sofianos, Crown counsel, said Richardson expressed remorse for her actions in a social inquiry report and deserved some credit for her early admission of guilt.

But Ms Sofianos also said a message needed to be sent to discourage others and suggested a sentence of about 7½ years.

Charles Richardson, the defence lawyer, said a sentence of no more than six years would be appropriate.

He said the defendant was a young mother who struggled financially in part because of her child’s medical issues.

Mr Richardson said: “She was really in a bad position, one that wasn’t entirely of her own making. She knows she has to go to prison. The question is for how long.”

Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves said the defendant was reckless to assume the drugs hidden in the suitcase was cannabis without checking it.

He said: “She has to accept the consequences of her act. It has to be so.”

Mr Justice Greaves said he would give her a discount on her sentence because of her previous good character and early guilty plea. He sentenced Richardson to seven years in prison, with time already served taken into account.

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

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