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Man denies trying to smuggle ecstasy

A man accused of trying to smuggle ecstasy worth $236,500 and other drugs into the island hidden in baby supplies and shirts told customs officers he was surprised when they found the contraband in a suitcase.

Edward Jaloni Albouy, 25, denied attempting to bring ecstasy, cannabis and cannabis resin through the airport at Supreme Court heard yesterday.

Alan Richards, for the Crown, told the court that customs officers found drugs hidden in sealed packages of diapers, baby wipes and shirts in Mr Albuoy’s suitcases after he arrived in Bermuda on a flight from London.

He added that the quantity of drugs found indicated they were not for personal use and that the MDMA - the technical name for ecstasy - on its own was worth an estimated $236,540.

Mr Richards told the jury that both the prosecution and the defence agreed that the drugs were found in Mr Albouy’s suitcase.

He explained: “The issue is whether Mr Albouy was aware that these drugs were in his luggage.”

Mr Richards argued that, based on Mr Albouy’s comments to customs officers and his efforts to distract the officer who conducted the search, any claim he was not aware of the drugs was a “ridiculous assertion”.

He added: “He must be a voluntary and knowing participant in this enterprise.”

Mr Albouy, from Southampton, also pleaded not guilty to a charge of possession of the drugs with intent to supply.

Customs officer Janita Hendrickson told the court that she carried out the search of Mr Albouy’s suitcases at LF Wade International Airport after he arrived on a British Airways flight on September 3, 2017.

She said Mr Albouy was very talkative while he was searched and told her about dirty laundry in his suitcases and crystals, which he said he had bought in Birmingham.

Ms Hendrickson told the court that when she opened his second suitcase she noticed the smell of cannabis.

She said after she noticed the smell, Mr Albouy told her he wanted his deodorant and reached into the bag.

Ms Hendrickson warned him not to touch the bag and he stepped back from the desk.

She said she noticed several sealed packets of white shirts, baby wipes and diapers from the British supermarket Tesco.

Ms Hendrickson said she felt “irregularities” in the diaper package, which were confirmed by an X-ray.

She asked Natalie Pitcher, another customs officer, to take notes as she carried on with the search.

The court heard that Ms Hendrickson cut open the diaper package and found a small package wrapped with black material hidden inside.

She also opened a package of baby wipes and a package of shirts and found similar black packages in both.

Ms Hendrickson asked Albouy if she would find packages in the other items.

He replied: “I don’t know. This is all a surprise to me.”

Ms Pitcher told the court Ms Hendrickson asked Mr Albouy if he had bought the items at Tesco, which he confirmed.

But he said he had nothing to say when questioned on what the packages hidden inside contained.

Ms Pitcher said Mr Albouy was sweating and wiping his forehead when she first saw him. She said: “I asked him if he was OK. He said yes, he was just hot.”

Ms Pitcher added that Mr Albouy watched as the search of his suitcases was carried out, except for two periods when he asked to go to the bathroom.

She said he was escorted to the restroom by a male customs officer and a male police officer.

The trial continues.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.