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Dealer finally jailed after decade on the run

A drug dealer who fled the Island to escape prosecution has been sentenced to four years in prison more than a decade after his initial arrest.

Roger Wainwright, 54, was arrested in 2002 with possessing cocaine with intent to supply, but never answered police bail. He was arrested again this May after being deported from the US.

Prosecutor Cindy Clarke told the court that on March 8, 2002, police responding to a report of a man acting suspiciously found Wainwright on a lawn in Pembroke.

As the officers watched, they saw Wainwright look around and approach a shed on the property. He then pulled a plastic bag from a hole and after removing something from the bag, returned it to the hole.

Officers stopped Wainwright and attempted to walk him toward the shed, at which point he began to stutter and his hand began to shake.

A search of the hole revealed a plastic bag containing five pieces of a rocklike substance, later proven to be cocaine freebase, commonly known as crack cocaine.

Questioned, Wainwright admitted to officers that he had more drugs at his Southampton home. He aided officers in a search of the property, directing them to a closet where three plastic bags containing white rocks, a roll of silver tape containing a white powder and a scale were discovered.

He also showed officers where they could find large quantities of cash, which he admitted was partially the proceeds of selling drugs.

In total, $28,130 in cash and 73.53g of cocaine with an estimated street value of $28,450, were recovered.

Wainwright was released on police bail and ordered to report in February 2003, but he failed to attend. A warrant for his arrest was issued the following month, however he was only arrested this May after arriving in the Island on a flight from the US.

During an appearance in Supreme Court on Monday, Wainwright pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply, but denied charges of possessing drug equipment and money laundering.

The maximum penalty for the offence in law is life in prison, but both Ms Clarke and defence lawyer Victoria Pearman submitted that a sentence of between two and four years in custody would be appropriate.

Ms Pearman told the court that at the time of the offence Wainwright was a drug addict, but he is now attempting to turn his life around and put his past mistakes behind him. She also noted that Wainwright had pleaded guilty and voluntarily signed a forfeiture agreement, giving up the $28,130 in cash seized during the investigation.

Regarding his attempt to avoid prosecution by leaving the country, she said: “I understand from him that at the time, his own judgement was skewed due to his own drug use.

“He was afraid that he might be punished in such a way that he wouldn't be able to see his young children. His poor judgement resulted in him running away to the US.”

Wainwright apologised to the court, the public and his family for the offence, saying: “I'm here to answer my wrongs. I've done a lot of cleaning up and I'm proud that I no longer involve myself in that world at all, and I intend to keep it that way.”

Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves said the impact on drugs like cocaine on the community are well known, saying that the defendant had “traded in evil”.

However he also said he must also factor in the defendant's guilty plea, his forfeiting of the proceeds and the decade that has elapsed since the offence occurred.

Given all the circumstances, Mr Justice Greaves sentenced Wainwright to four years in prison with time spent in custody taken into account.

Roger Wainwright (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published September 19, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 19, 2013 at 12:41 am)

Dealer finally jailed after decade on the run

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