Mom jailed for smuggling $20,000 of cannabis
A mother of two is behind bars today after being convicted of trying to smuggle nearly $20,000 worth of cannabis into Bermuda.
Valisa Holder hid 1.1 kilograms of the drug inside an air mattress in her suitcase before travelling back to the Island on September 10 last year.
The 41-year-old, who was pregnant when she was arrested at LF Wade International Airport, had claimed she had no idea the drugs were in her luggage.
But this week, Magistrate Tyrone Chin found her guilty of importing and possessing the drug with intent to supply.
Holder broke down in tears as the verdict was returned and was remanded in custody until her sentencing in the New Year.
The verdict brought to an end a trial that began in September and has taken more than two months to conclude.
During the trial the court heard how Holder — a Bermudian national living in Delaware — was arrested at the airport after arriving on a plane from Atlanta. She told customs officers she had brought in an air mattress for a friend's daughter, which prompted them to check her luggage.
The officers discovered seven wrapped packages of cannabis.
Holder was cautioned and told police she understood the process because “I used to be a cop”.
She later claimed during her trial that she had bought the air mattress from a Walmart in Atlanta and had been told that there were “weights” inside the box to stop it flipping over.
She maintained throughout that she had no idea there were drugs inside the mattress.
However, after hearing from police, customs officers and the friend for whom Holder claimed she was bringing in the mattress, who refuted the claim, Mr Chin rejected Holder's story.
The prosecution also provided evidence to the court that showed Holder had never been a police officer.
On Monday she was remanded in custody and will appear in court again on January 6 for sentence.
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