Pair jailed for smuggling $500,000 of drugs

Two men were jailed for three years yesterday after they plotted to bring drugs with an estimated street value of more than $500,000 into Bermuda on a cruise ship.

Cannabis, vape pen cartridges and shatter — a super-strength derivative of marijuana — were seized from a cruise ship cabin occupied by Jahad Waldron and Julian Mendez last year.

The pair, from Brooklyn, New York, apologised to the Supreme Court after they admitted conspiracy to import controlled drugs between an unknown date and September 5, 2018.

Acting Puisne Judge Craig Attridge said the two were caught by security staff on the Celebrity Summit after it sailed from New Jersey.

The court heard that the substances involved were more than 5,000 grams of shatter, about 420 grams of cannabis and 192 vape pen cartridges, which each contained a millilitre of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.

Alan Richards, for the Crown, said the estimated street value in Bermuda was up to $542,853.

But he accepted that there might be “flexibility” in the figure because it was the first time courts had dealt with some of the drugs on such a scale.

Mr Richards added: “Particularly shatter and the THC oil are only just starting to be seen on the black market in this jurisdiction.” He told the court that some of the shatter was found to have a “particularly high concentration” of THC at 85 per cent, compared to 17 per cent in the plant material.

Charles Richardson, who appeared for Waldron, said that an appropriate sentence would be two years in jail, with time served taken into consideration.

He added that the men’s sentences would have been lower if they had been convicted in their home country.

Archibald Warner, who appeared for Mendez, said: “These defendants would not be before this court if they were not wrongfully brought into Bermuda.” Waldron, 28, told the court: “I’m sorry for what I’ve done.”

Mendez, 24, apologised and added: “I’ve been through a lot since I’ve been here,

“I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I’ve done and I just ask the court to show mercy.”

Mr Justice Attridge said the case had led to arguments about the legality of the charges and “called into question the jurisdiction of these courts”.

He added that the men appeared to be of previous good character.

But Mr Justice Attridge said the quantity of drugs was “very significant”.

He added it was possible that Waldron might have played a more prominent part in the crime.

He said: “There is no clear basis for distinguishing between the culpability of the defendants.”

Mr Justice Attridge sentenced the pair, who had no previous convictions, to three years in prison, with time served to be taken into consideration.

Leslie Grant, the executive director at Focus Counselling Services, an anti-drug abuse agency, said: “Shatter is a glasslike concentrate of cannabis oil.

“Its effects are similar to that of hash and hash oil.

“This form of cannabis is commonly produced in the US and Canada, but it is not very widely used in Bermuda.”

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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