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Heroin smuggler imprisoned for 13 years

A 20-year-old woman with a “tumultuous” upbringing was sentenced to spend 13 years behind bars after importing more than $650,000 worth of heroin.

Co-Shae Bartrum, of Controversy Lane in Pembroke, was caught with 274 grams of the drug in a condom planted inside her on May 23 last year.

Prosecutor Nicole Smith said Bartrum had arrived to the Island off a commercial flight from London at 7.10pm.

While going through Customs at L.F. Wade International Airport, Bartrum appeared suspicious and was asked to go to a secondary search area.

Customs officers asked her to remove items of clothing and found drugs, of 36 percent purity, wrapped in a condom.

Bartrum told officers her boyfriend, who was travelling with her, was unaware of what she had done. She said she bought the drugs for GBP 1,200 in the UK and was planning to distribute it “wholesale” in Bermuda.

Bartrum plead guilty to the offence on January 24, the day her trial was scheduled to begin.

According to Ms Smith, the appropriate range for sentence should be between 12 to 15 years.

Defence lawyer Charles Richardson yesterday described his client as a young woman with “tumultuous” upbringing.

He said from her birth up until 14-years-old, Bartrum lived in nine different places. “Up until the age of 12 she was made to believe her father was dead. Only at the age of 12 did she become acquainted with him,” he added.

Mr Richardson told the court Bartrum was kicked out of her mother's home, due to a boy she was dating, around aged 16 or 17 and “thrust back out into the cruel, cold world”.

She was living with a young man in uninhabitable conditions, he said.

Bartrum was able to hold down some minimum wage jobs as a grocery shelf-packer and in the hospitality industry, yet has dreams of becoming a chef, Mr Richardson said.

The young woman, of previously clean record, spoke in her own defence yesterday and said: “I would like to say I am sorry to the courts for wasting their time and for my parents for bringing this bad influence on them.

“And that I hope that if you give me a half a chance, I do not really need a whole chance, but if you give me half a chance I can prove to you and Bermuda I can turn my life around.”

Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons took into account Bartrum's early guilty plea, youth and life circumstances.

But said it was a very serious drug trafficking offence which involved the importing of a substantial amount of heroin.

Bearing in mind the defendant “plea for a half chance at redemption”, she said the court would be contradictory to pass a sentence that would discourage the young woman from her goals of carrying out vocational work in the hospitality industry.

She handed Bartrum a 13-year prison sentence and said time sent in custody since January would be taken into consideration.

Co-Shae Bartrum is escorted by a Corrections Officer yesterday after being sentenced to 13 years in prison

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Published March 30, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated March 30, 2011 at 9:31 am)

Heroin smuggler imprisoned for 13 years

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