Cocaine smuggler gets 12 monthsPOSTED: 05/31/12 12:22 PM
St. Maarten – Hensley Franco Celestin won’t be traveling to the Netherlands for the time being, after his conviction to 12 months imprisonment for an attempt to smuggle cocaine in ingested bolitas on April 7 from Curacao via St. Maarten to Paris and from there to the Netherlands. Of the sentence, 6 months are suspended. The court imposed 3 years of probation.
The 48-year-old father of thirteen children told the police and the court that he uses cocaine every day at a rate of twenty grams per day – a statement the prosecution found hard to believe.
There was also some discussion about the actual amount of cocaine the 41 bolitas contained. The summons charges Celestin with carrying 930 grams but the defendant said that it was closer to 650 grams.
“Twenty grams per day for personal use, I don’t believe that,” prosecutor mr. Dounia Benammar said. “It does not change the charge though.”
She demanded 15 months imprisonment.
Celestin’s attorney mr. S.H. Ibrahim said that her client had been accosted by customs officers outside the airport terminal after his arrival from Curacao. “Only one or two bolitas have been tested for cocaine, so it has not been established that the other bolitas contained cocaine as well. The amount of drugs has therefore not been established.”
mr. Ibrahim said that her client has been working for 17 years for a car company in Tilburg but that he has lost his job after his arrest.
She also noted that the client had been attacked in the prison several times by other inmates. My client is not a drug dealer,” she pleaded with the court. “He carried the drugs for his personal use.”
Judge mr. Monique Keppels accepted that the amount of cocaine could be lower than the prosecution charges, but she did find proof that all bolitas contained cocaine. She based this conclusion on statements made by the defendant.