Two fishermen from the island of Tobago were each fined $2, 500.00 to be paid forthwith or spend the next 18 months behind bars at the Richmond Hill Prison after pleading guilty to “doing an act preparatory to trafficking a controlled drug”.
20-year-old Jabborie Joefield and Ricardo Mohammed, 23 of Lambo, Tobago were intercepted just outside the territorial waters of True Blue in Grand Anse during the course of last week.
The suspects appeared before the St. George’s No. 1 Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday where the charge was read out to them in front of their attorney-at-law, Peter David.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the first-time offenders left their homeland early last week Wednesday morning to collect a quantity of marijuana, which was supposed to be handed over to them on the high seas by another individual some 30 miles off the coast of Tobago.
Things took a different turn when they reportedly lost track of their location after encountering some problems with the weather and unknowingly sought refuge at the Grenada Coast Guard base sometime during the course of last week Thursday.
Joefield and Mohammed were in the process of seeking assistance in purchasing some gas to return home when a police investigator arrived to question them.
Under questioning, they admitted the true nature of their mission.
THE NEW TODAY understands that US$4, 500 was found in their possession.
Attorney David tried to convince the court that the accused persons are not “seasoned criminals”, got loss, was not aware where they were and when they saw yachts docked at the security base came into berth their 28-foot vessel.
He told Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill that a seasoned criminal would not go into the Coast Guard base to seek help, especially while on a drug run.
“They didn’t intend to come to Grenada and are more victims themselves”, he said, adding that the owner of the vessel, who allegedly sent the men to make the drug run reported his boat as stolen and left his clients to face the music alone.
In handing down her ruling, the Chief Magistrate considered the age of the Tobagonians who spent the last 6 days behind bars and expressed hope that they “have learned from this experience.”
She also warned them that the court would not go easy on them if they re-offend.
Joefield and Mohammed were also informed that they would not be able to return to their homeland until the fines are paid in full.