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Customs officers tell about drugs discovery

Airport customs officers have told how they discovered two packages of cocaine concealed in a black handbag.

Christopher Pitcher and Matthew Fullerton were on duty when they were alerted to a suitcase belonging to Tyrone Brown, who had arrived from Jamaica via Miami a day earlier.

It is alleged that Mr Brown, a Jamaican national, imported 894.6 grams of cocaine worth more than $90,000 on to the island on April 18 this year.

On the second day of his Supreme Court trial, the jury heard that Mr Fullerton and Mr Pitcher were working in the baggage hall on the day in question.

Mr Fullerton said it was part of their job to look out for bags that had arrived late, adding that “it was brought to our attention that a bag needed to be looked at”.

He said they were presented with a green suitcase, which had Mr Brown's name on the labels, by an American Airlines agent.

“The suitcase was not locked when officer Pitcher and I received it,” he said, explaining that his colleague searched the bag while he took notes.

The black handbag was found in the suitcase and Mr Fullerton said it contained personal toiletries.

But he said Mr Pitcher noted some inconsistencies in its weight and an X-ray showed up two “rectangular shapes”, one to the front and the other at the back of the bag.

Mr Fullerton said his colleague probed through the stitching on the front flap of the bag, and conducted a field test of the package that was revealed.

“That tested positive for cocaine,” Mr Fullerton said. “We informed our supervisor of the results of the field test and that we had a positive result for cocaine.”

The police were called and the officers guarded the bag until their arrival, at which point the officers took the items into their custody.

Detective Sergeant David Bhagwan was one of three officers who transported the items to the forensic support unit at Southside Police Station in St David's.

He told the court the rectangular packages, which were of a similar size and material, were removed in the sterile control processing room, swabbed for forensic examination and secured as evidence. The next morning, he attended the Clear View holiday suites in Hamilton Parish with his two colleagues.

On the first day of the trial, the jury heard that Mr Brown was arrested at the holiday suites on April 19, having arrived in Bermuda the day before.

As he made his way through L.F. Wade International Airport, customs officers noticed that he appeared “nervous and fidgety”.

He was subjected to a personal search, as well as a shoe X-ray by customs staff, but nothing of interest was found.

Mr Brown denies importing cocaine to Bermuda.

The trial continues.

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Published August 25, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 25, 2016 at 5:11 am)

Customs officers tell about drugs discovery

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