Two men, including one who hid the cocaine he had in his possession in a dog pen, were on Monday fined for drug possession after a police operation in Paul’s Avenue on Friday.
On Monday, at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, Lemar “Chak” Isaacs, a 21-year-old unemployed man, of Mc Kie’s Hill and Dimron Mc Donald, 33, a self-employed New Montrose resident, pleaded guilty to possession of eight and 18 grammes of cocaine, respectively, at Paul’s Avenue on Friday.
According to the facts, read by prosecutor acting corporal of police Corlene Samuel, about 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Police Constable 1114 Roberts was among police officers who were carrying out joint operations in Paul’s Avenue, headed by Sgt 403 John.
As they entered Paul’s Avenue, they heard several voices shout “Five-0! Five-0!”
The police went to Kevin Nelson’s shop and saw several people in the area.
Roberts noticed the defendant coming from the back of the shop and this aroused his suspicion as everyone was trying to get away from the area.
Roberts approached Isaacs and requested a search of his person, to which he consented.
Nothing illegal was found on his person.
The officers took Isaacs to the back of the shop, where they met a dog pen.
Roberts searched the pen and during the search, he found a transparent plastic bag with foil wrappings, containing whitish substance resembling cocaine.
The officer cautioned Isaacs, who responded, “Officer, is mine. I hide it in the dog pen.”
When weighed at the Narcotics Base, the 34 rocks of cocaine amounted to eight grammes.
In mitigation, Issacs told Magistrate John Ballah that he was trying to help his mother to pay a bill.
He said he worked last week in Lodge Village and had EC$200 on him in court.
Ballah told Issacs that would not be enough to pay the fine.
Isaacs told the court that his mother was outside and Ballah commented that she is the same mother he was trying to assist.
The defendant had no antecedents.
After consulting the sentencing guidelines and police officers about the street value of the drug, the magistrate established a street value of EC$5 per rock of cocaine.
He multiplied this by three to arrive at a starting sentence of a fine of EC$510.
There were no aggravating features of the offence and Ballah reduced the sentence $50 in light of the mitigating feature of the offence – the lack of sophistication in the concealment of the drug.
Regarding the defendant, the court deducted a further $50 in light of his age and absence of previous conviction.
After the one-third discount for the early guilty plea was applied, the fine was reduced by EC$137, leaving EC$273 to be paid forthwith or one month in prison.
As regards the charge against Mc Donald, the prosecutor said that about 12:45 p.m. the police executed a search at Nelson’s shop.
Mc Donald was met behind the counter and he consented to a search. During the search behind the counter, PC 778 Williams saw on the floor a small transparent plastic bag containing foil wrappings.
When Williams opened the bag in the presence of McDonald and another police officer, it was found to contain what appeared to be cocaine.
Williams cautioned Mc Donald, who responded, “Officer, is mine. Is cocaine.”
The prosecutor handed up Mc Donald’s criminal record but the magistrate sent it back to her almost immediately, observing that they were spent.
He established a starting fine of EC$1,155. The court removed EC$100 for the lack of sophistication and a further EC$100 for Mc Donald’s previously clean record.
He was given a full one-third discount on his sentence, which further reduced the fine by EC$390, leaving a final fine of EC$636 forthwith or two months in prison.
The magistrate ordered that the cocaine in both matters be destroyed.
Meanwhile, in a statement on Monday, police said that eight persons were arrested during the joint operation between the Rapid Response Unit, the Narcotics Unit and the Special Services Unit.
The police seized a total of 182 rocks of cocaine, equivalent to 36 grammes, a quantity of cannabis, and the US$448, EC$2270 and BBS$20 in cash.
During the operation, the police searched several people, houses and businesses, which resulted in confiscating the illegal substances.
The Financial Intelligence Unit has opened an investigation into the monies that were confiscated.
“These operations are part of the RSVGPF’s strategic plan to combat illegal activities throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the police statement said.