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Woman imprisoned for importing 49kg of cannabis

A woman who attempted to smuggle more than $2 million worth of cannabis was on Friday sentenced to spend ten years in prison.

Mary Johnson, 53, from Edgeway Lane, Pembroke, was arrested at Newark’s Liberty International Airport on October 21 last year with 49kg of cannabis bricks concealed in her luggage in false bottoms.

Prosecutors told the court the estimated value of the seized drugs on the streets of Bermuda is $2,468,500.

Johnson had told the courts that she accepted $2,570 by a drug dealer to bring the bags into the country, but had no knowledge of their contents, but a jury found her guilty of conspiring to import the drugs.

At Friday’s sentencing in Supreme Court, Crown counsel Larissa Burgess said the only factor in favour of Johnson was that she had been co-operative with police investigating the matter.

However, attorney Larry Mussenden, representing Johnson, stressed that his client faced numerous challenges, including issues with cannabis and cocaine. Mr Mussenden also told the court that Johnson may have cancer.

Johnson herself apologised to the court, the community and her family, saying she had only agreed to fly to the US to see a terminally-ill relative.

“I just wanted to see my family. Now I’m here and I’m all alone,” she said. “I don’t even know if I’m going to live through this. I just want to spend some time with my family.”

Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves said he was not unsympathetic to the challenges that Johnson has faced in her life, saying: “She appears to be a simple person who has done a stupid thing, and was taken advantage of by ruthless men.”

However, he said he could not ignore the massive quantity of drugs and the fact that Johnson had spent six months in prison for a prior offence of importing cannabis.

“It’s said that even a fool should be wise in hindsight,” he said. “You already have the benefit of hindsight. You should have been wise enough this time around not to do it.”

Noting the quantity of drugs involved in the attempted importation, Mr Justice Greaves said he had never seen anyone attempt to bring such a large load in their luggage.

He sentenced Johnson to ten years in prison, with time already spent in custody taken into account.

He additionally ordered her to take part in all recommended treatment programmes, both in custody and on parole.

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Published November 26, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 26, 2011 at 6:48 am)

Woman imprisoned for importing 49kg of cannabis

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