The St. George’s Magistrate’s Court has imposed a fine of $40, 000.00 on a 37-year-old Vincentian national, who pleaded guilty to trafficking in 31 pounds of cannabis into the country from the sister isle of Carriacou on April 4.
Magistrate Tahira Gellineau handed down the sentence at the St. George’s No. 2 Magistrate’s Court last week Friday on Aldridge Providence, giving him 18 months to pay the monies, with a default sentence of three (3) years confinement at the Richmond Hill Prison.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the first time offender, who is a certified ‘Class A’ Mason, residing with his wife and child in the village of Conference in St. Andrew, was observed by police officers as he alighted from a speed boat on the Carenage in St. George’s and apprehended after over EC$70, 300.00 worth of cannabis was found in his possession.
According to an informed source, the Vincentian, who pleaded guilty to the offence, attempted to cover up the strong scent of the illegal substance using the ‘big time’ seasoning bush.
At the time of his arrest, Providence was accompanied by another individual, whose name was given as Kellon Edwards, who this newspaper understands had given him a ride to the mainland from the sister isle of Carriacou onboard his fishing vessel.
According to information from the court, Edwards was jointly slapped with the drug trafficking charge along with Providence and retained the services of Attorney-at-law, Ruggles Ferguson to assist him.
However, Providence, who retained the services of Attorney-at-Law Jerry Edwin, took full responsibility for the illegal substance, which led to the police prosecution team, withdrawing the charge against Edwards, who they believed had no knowledge that Providence, was carrying the illegal drugs.
In mitigating Providence’s defense, Attorney Edwin asked the court to have mercy on him, offering the explanation that his client, who was at the time of the offence, working two (2) jobs and driven to a point of desperation, where he felt he had no other choice to help his young child who is facing severe health challenges.
The Vincentian national escaped a maximum fine of three times the value of the 31 pounds of cannabis and a maximum prison term of seven (7) years imprisonment.
Providence is required to pay at least $2, 500.00 each month for the next 18 months to pay-off the fine.