A Vincentian national who pleaded guilty to drug charges at the Grenville Magistrate’s Court on Monday has been ordered to spend the next two (2) years behind bars at the Richmond Hill Prison.
The sentence was handed down to Cosmo Francois of Rose Bank, St. Vincent by Magistrate Nevlyn John after he pleaded guilty to charges of Possession and Trafficking in a Controlled Drug.
Francois, who retained the services of Attorney-at-Law Jerry Edwin, has been on remand at the prison since his arrest last July in connection with the discovery of 655 pounds of cannabis valued at EC$1.3 million on a fishing vessel at the Soubise beach in St. Andrew.
The Vincentian national admitted to carrying the illegal substance to the island using a fishing boat, accompanied by a local man whose name was not given in court.
According to the Police Prosecution, Francois tried to run away from the scene when he noticed officers had spotted him but he was captured after a chase.
A search of the vessel unearthed the illegal substance, which was packaged inside of 18 crocus bags found concealed in the bow of the boat.
In mitigating the case, Attorney Edwin acknowledged the seriousness of the offence and urged the court to be lenient with his client who has no ties to the island and urged the court to consider the (8) months already spent on remand.
“He is a farmer, the father of four (4) and the bread winner of his home,” the attorney told the court.
In handing down the 2-year sentence, Magistrate John pointed to the aggravating factors in the case, which she listed as being the quantity of drugs, the seriousness of the offence, and the fact that Francois is an alien who breached the laws governing the CARICOM treaty.
She also noted that the maximum penalty for this offence is five (5) years imprisonment, a fine of $250, 000 or both.
Magistrate John suggested that a deportation order be slapped on the Vincentian for his immediate removal from the country upon completion of his 2-year prison term at a rate eight (8) months equivalent to one (1) prison year.