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Heroin importer imprisoned for eight years

A Hamilton Parish woman caught at the airport with $1.4 million of heroin was yesterday jailed for more than eight years.

Seanee Smith, 27, pleaded guilty earlier this year to possessing heroin with intent to supply in an incident on February 13, 2012.

The court had heard that she and Takai Tota arrived at LF Wade International Airport on a British Airways flight after a ten-day trip to the UK. After collecting their baggage, the pair were directed to separate customs desks to be processed.

During a search of her belongings, officers discovered two packages hidden in a purple pillow.

She said she didn't know what the packages contained, but when officers continued to search the pillow Smith said: “It ain't nothing else in there. It's in the duffel bag.”

She indicated towards a pocket in the bag which was found to contain a third package.

The three packages were later discovered to contain a total of 483.02g of diamorphine, better known as heroin.

Another 499.82g of heroin was found in Tota's possession, hidden in the crotch of his underwear.

Crown counsel Maria Sofianos told the court that, if sold in 3mg decks on the streets of Bermuda, the drugs found in Smith's possession alone could fetch as much as $1.42 million.

Both Smith and Tota were charged with importing heroin and possessing heroin with intent to supply. Tota pleaded guilty to the second charge at the earliest opportunity and was sentenced to eight years behind bars.

The court also heard that Smith was convicted in 2010 of importing 109.6g of cocaine and 49.1g of cannabis resin — an offence for which she was sentenced to a term of imprisonment.

Ms Sofianos argued that Smith should receive an immediate custodial sentence of between seven-and-a-half and 12 years for the recent offence, saying there were no mitigating factors in her favour apart from her guilty plea.

Defence lawyer Dantae Williams meanwhile told the court that Smith had struggled through a difficult upbringing and made some poor choices but wants to turn her life around and study the culinary arts.

He said that Tota had made all the arrangements for the trip, paying for flights and hotels, but while he had spent the bulk of the trip in London Smith had been in Southampton.

He said Tota gave her the packages of heroin while on the flight back to Bermuda because he was afraid of being caught — a version of events Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves said made no sense given that she told a probation officer she agreed to the trip because she was $11,000 in debt and needed the money.

Smith herself apologised to the court, her friends and her family, saying: “I'm not a bad person. I have goals. I hope that I have a bright future.

“This is not something that I wanted to do, but to make a life for myself and my family this is what I thought I had to do.”

Mr Justice Greaves sentenced Smith to eight-and-a-half years in prison, with the time she has already spend behind bars taken into account.

“She may not have been the leader of this enterprise but she was a willing participant with past experience,” he said. “I think that, in the circumstances, her sentence must to some degree be greater than [Tota's], even if her quantity of drugs was slightly less.”

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Published March 21, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 20, 2014 at 11:35 pm)

Heroin importer imprisoned for eight years

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