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Taxi driver jailed for dealing drugs

A taxi driver who sold crack cocaine from his car was yesterday jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Hewvonnie Brown, 37, also lost $120,000 money prosecutors believed he earned from the sale of drugs.

The Mission House Close, St Davids resident was caught with more than $50,000 cash and cocaine freebase in his taxi last March 21.

Yesterday he told magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo that he had since been redeemed by God.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Cindy Clarke said police stopped Brown’s taxi at the junction of Court and Front Streets, as a result of a tip.

They found 16 stacks of cash wrapped with elastic bands in his backpack, plus a significant quantity of money in his wallet a total sum of $52,470.

A plastic twist containing a rocklike substance was found in Brown’s jacket pocket.

The vehicle was searched by a sniffer dog after police discovered a digital scale.

Officers found a razor blade, a packet of plastic bags and another twist of a rocklike substance in a compartment.

A total of 42.3 grams of crack cocaine, valued at $13,200, were also seized from the taxi.

Brown subsequently pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply, and possessing the proceeds of crime.

The area on North Street where he was first spotted, plus the areas he travelled through and was stopped in, are all increased penalty zones.

Brown’s lawyer, Justin Williams, described his client as an independent taxi operator.

Brown told the court his family had not raised him to be in such a position.

“I have rededicated my life to Jesus Christ,” he said.

“It saddens me because it’s embarrassing. I can say that through the grace of God, he has redeemed me.”

Brown apologised to Mr Tokunbo, saying he knew it was his job but that he regretted putting the magistrate in “the precarious position of having to put another black man from Bermuda society behind bars”.

Mr Tokunbo answered: “Most of us are not raised to be in this position. Unfortunately, it is temptation that attracts us to do these sorts of things.

“It’s not an easy thing for me to do this, but as you say, it’s my job. It’s not the end of the world.”

Noting Brown’s early guilty plea, Mr Tokunbo said the sentence must reflect the reasonably large quantity of the drugs.

For possession with intent to supply, Brown received 18 months’ imprisonment.

He received a further 12 months for being in an increased penalty zone and 12 months for possessing the proceeds of crime.

The latter two are to be served concurrently, and time spent in custody will automatically be taken into account.

Brown also got 12 to 18 months’ probation to follow his release.

As he was led from the courtroom, he said: “Hallelujah.”

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Published March 14, 2012 at 10:00 am (Updated March 14, 2012 at 9:59 am)

Taxi driver jailed for dealing drugs

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