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Grandmother jailed for 12 years for conspiring to import cocaine

An American cruise ship passenger who attempted to smuggle $369,000 worth of cocaine into Bermuda has been jailed for 12 years.

Jane Carmichael, 52, from Hazelhurst, Georgia, had strapped the drugs to her body inside a girdle.

When authorities accompanied by sniffer dogs apprehended the grandmother on board the

Celebrity Summit liner at Royal Naval Dockyard in May 2012, she immediately told them that she was carrying the drugs.

The drugs mule later said she had been asked by a ship cleaner to deliver the four packages to a bar in Hamilton. The packages contained 3,452 grammes of cocaine.

At a sentencing hearing in Supreme Court yesterday, prosecutor Nicole Smith called for Carmichael to be jailed for up to 18 years.

She pointed out that Carmichael had failed to cooperate with police in tracking down the dealers who had set her up.

“The only mitigating circumstances are that she entered an early plea of guilty and the defendant has no previous convictions in this jurisdiction,” Ms Smith told Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves.

“But she did not provide any assistance with the identification of her co-conspirators.”

Defence lawyer Saul Dismont pointed out that Carmichael had led a tragic life and had been “a victim of manipulation”.

Requesting a sentence of between six and nine years, Mr Dismont explained that his client had been sexually abused as a child and had spiralled into depression following the death of a grandson six years ago. Her mother had died two years ago and she was also struggling financially after losing her job.

“From that point on, she spiralled into a never-ending pit of depression,” Mr Dismont said, adding that the drug mule had made several attempts to commit suicide.

“By her own definition, she has been lost in her life and made a number of bad decisions.”

Mr Dismont also said that Carmichael had been a model prisoner since her incarceration immediately following her arrest.

“Since her arrest, her behaviour has been exemplary,” Mr Dismont said, adding that Carmichael had “made a 360 degree about-turn in terms of her attitude and depression”.

“She has managed to turn herself around and helped many inmates — she has been a great encouragement to those who find themselves in a negative situation.”

Before sentence was passed, Carmichael told the court: “I accept whatever judgement that the judge gives me. I made a mistake and I apologise to the Premier and to the courts here.”

Mr Justice Greaves, who had earlier sentenced two men to terms of 15 and 12 years for conspiring to import cocaine into the Island, said a sentence of 12 years for Carmichael “would convey a message of some balance”.

American Jane Carmichael leaves Supreme Court after being sentenced to 12 years for drug importation (Photo by Glenn Tucker)

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Published April 05, 2013 at 9:18 am (Updated April 05, 2013 at 9:18 am)

Grandmother jailed for 12 years for conspiring to import cocaine

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