Cocaine smuggler gets 4 years

POSTED: 03/28/13 12:47 PM

St. Maarten – The Common Court of Justice did not uphold Davonan Sookram’s sentence to 5 years for smuggling 54 kilos of cocaine into St. Maarten on December 23, 2011. The appeals court lowered the sentence yesterday to 4 years, with 1 year suspended, and imposed a probation period of 2 years.

Sookram sailed from Guyana to St. Maarten in December 2001 with a shipment of wood and beverages. However, the Common Court judges noted that he had chartered the boat for $23,000 and that this amount far outpaced the value of the shipment. Therefore, the court concluded, the defendant must have known that he was also transporting the cocaine. The cocaine has an estimated value of $378,000.

The court considers Sookram as the transport’s organizer; he chartered the boat, he hired personnel, brought on Samuel on board as its captain, but in fact also navigated the vessel himself.

Captain Samuel urged Sookram in a note to declare that he had bought the cocaine in St. Maarten instead of saying that he had brought it from Guyana. “This presumes that the defendant knew about the presence of the drugs on the boat,” the court ruled. Sookram also gave officers a false name when he was arrested.

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