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UK man jailed for smuggling $500,000 worth of drugs

A British man who smuggled almost $500,000 of drugs into the island has been jailed for five-and-a-half years.

Edward Odell, 55, was sentenced yesterday having earlier pleaded guilty to carrying 4,333 grammes of cannabis and 643 grammes of MDMA – commonly known as ecstasy – in a suitcase when he landed in Bermuda on a British Airways flight in February, 2020.

Prosecutor Cindy Clarke said that Odell, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, had passed through the customs green channel at LF Wade International Airport carrying a large grey suitcase.

But customs officers ordered him to step aside for a search of his luggage and found seven “suspicious” packages hidden behind the lining of the suitcase. Three heat-sealed packages contained a brown resin and the other four contained grey tablets.

Ms Clarke said that Odell told customs officers that he had “no idea” how the packages came to be in his luggage.

But he later pleaded guilty to two counts of importing cannabis and ecstasy with a combined street value of $496,950, with intent to supply.

Ms Clarke recommended that Odell, who had been in custody on remand since his arrest, be given a six-year jail term.

Mark Pettingill, for the defence, said that a lesser sentence was warranted.

He told Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe that Odell had “fallen on hard times” and been “duped” into taking the trip to Bermuda.

He added that Odell had had no contact with his family since his arrest and that he was also suffering from a medical condition that might require surgery.

“It behoves our system well to have him out of this jurisdiction as soon as possible,” Mr Pettingill said.

Before being sentenced, Odell addressed the court, saying that he wanted to “sincerely apologise to the people of Bermuda" for his actions.

He said that he had run a successful business in Britain but began suffering mental health issues after being separated from his young son.

He said: ”That had a profound effect on me mentally and I fell upon hard times.

Pointing out that his parents had been from “the Second World War generation”, Odell said: “I feel ashamed for my actions and the only thing that I’m glad about is that they are not alive to see my shame.”

Sentencing Odell to five-and-a-half years in jail for each of the two counts, Mr Wolffe said: “Drugs are the scourge of Bermuda and at the centre of most of our social ills. Offenders should be dealt with harshly.”

But Mr Wolffe acknowledged Odell’s early guilty plea and recognised that he was “genuinely remorseful” for his actions.

The sentences are to run concurrently, with time served on remand to be taken into consideration.