Girl sentenced to 30 months for cocaine transportPOSTED: 09/25/14 1:37 PM
St. Maarten – Rainely De L.M. appears to be a diminutive 21-year-old girl – a child almost by her appearance – but she will spend her foreseeable future behind bars in the Pointe Blanche prison. That is the price for transporting 13.8 kilos of cocaine from Curacao to St. Maarten, where she was arrested in July 1. The prosecution demanded 4 years imprisonment, but the Court in First Instance settled yesterday for 30 months, with 6 months suspended and 2 years of probation.
The young woman’s fate was predetermined after the prosecutor’s office received a lead letter from the American Drug Enforcement Administration that the July 1 flight of Insel Air from Curacao with destination Dominican Republic – making a stop in St. Maarten – would be carrying drugs.
Upon arrival at Princess Juliana International Airport, all suitcases on board of the Insel Air craft were searched and in one of them customs officers found 13.8 kilos of coke, hiding in a pair of jeans.
The defendant, who lives with her parents in Spain, told the court that she had gone to visit the Dominican Republic where her sister lives and that from thereon she had gone to Curacao where her friend lives. She denied that she had put the coke in her suitcase, but she admitted that she had packed the suitcase herself.
The girl was transported to the airport in Curacao by someone whose name she refused to give, claiming that her family had been threatened. Later on it appeared that the brains behind the coke transport had threatened to kill the girl’s 1-year old nephew if she dared open her mouth.
The court noted that the girl used to work as a waitress in Spain where she made €800 ($1,040) a month. All the same, she mentioned financial troubles because her parents are unemployed.
Prosecutor Karola van Nie charged that the girl had packed her own suitcase and that she knew it contained cocaine. She also told the court that the defendant’s travel movements are unusual and not consistent with somebody in financial trouble.
On the other hand, the prosecutor could well imagine that the girl did not want to give information about the people behind the coke-transport, given its (local) value of $10,000 to $12,000 per kilo. This would put the value of the confiscated drugs between $138,000 and $165,600.
The prosecutor demanded 4 years of imprisonment, noting that the girl had refused to give investigators the password for her cell phone.
Judge Koos van de Ven considered the charges proven, but he thought that the prosecutor’s demand was on the high end. He referred to the ruling against customs officer Sanchez, who received 7 years for smuggling 268 kilos of cocaine, and Medina, who received 8 years for smuggling 1,453 kilos of the drug. Recently a woman called Hasselbaink was sentenced to 30 months for smuggling about half the amount that was found in the defendant’s suitcase.
“You are a totally different character than Sanchez,” the judge said, adding that he put her in the category of Hasselbaink. He sentenced the 21-year old to 30 months, with 6 months suspended and 2 years of suspension.