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Student jailed for trying to smuggle guns

A Bermudian college student has been jailed after he admitted importing two BB guns.Shaquille Crockwell, 21, from Rock Lane West, Hamilton Parish, pleaded guilty yesterday to importing the prohibited weapons on April 22.Magistrates’ Court heard that Crockwell had returned to the Island on the day in question from his studies in Rhode Island.While going through customs at LF Wade International Airport, Crockwell declared some throwing knives, which he brought for a friend.However, a subsequent search of his bag by a customs officer revealed two dismantled Colt Automatic .25 calibre BB guns.Prosecutor Susan Mulligan said: “It was sort of distributed throughout his luggage in a manner which suggests he was trying to hide them.”The court heard that various pieces were found in several parts of the bag, and inside items of clothing, such as socks and shoes.Officers were later able to piece the parts together to form two fully-functioning BB guns.Crockwell told them the parts were spread throughout his bags to prevent his mother from finding them.Asked if there was any ammunition in his luggage, Crockwell said: “If I do, it is in my bag.”The officer discovered two bags of BB ammunition to which Crockwell was heard to say: “F***, you’re going to find everything,”Crockwell initially denied importing a firearm, but later admitted the amended charge of bringing in a prohibited weapon.Duty counsel Oonagh Vaucrosson described Crockwell as a bright young electrical engineering student with no previous convictions. She said he’d been scheduled to return to Rhode Island to continue his studies today.She told the court that Crockwell wasn’t aware that the parts were in the bag because he packed in a rush, and wasn’t aware that the weapons were illegal in Bermuda.“Even intelligent people make mistakes,” Ms Vaucrosson said.However Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner responded: “Intelligent people do criminal things too.”The magistrate challenged the suggestion that Crockwell wasn’t aware the weapons were illegal based on the way they were found distributed throughout his luggage.“How can it be ignorance of the law if he knows he tried to hide parts of a prohibited weapon? Why is he attempting to do that? No intelligent young man can make that mistake,” Mr Warner said.Mr Warner also stressed the importance of establishing a sentence that would deter others from smuggling weapons into the country.“What’s going to happen when the other fellow brings a gun in now and says it’s a bad judgement?” Mr Warner asked. “You cannot afford to make these mistakes these days. You cannot claim to make these kinds of mistakes in this environment.”Mr Warner ordered a social inquiry report and remanded Crockwell into custody for the two weeks it will take to complete the report.