-ordered to pay over $100M fine
Four years was the jail sentence handed down by City Magistrate Judy Latchman to an exporter, who was found
guilty yesterday of trafficking nearly 90 pounds of cocaine to the United States of America via an Amerijet cargo plane.
Darshanan Balram, 28, of 211 Albert Street, Bourda, Georgetown, had 40.4kg of cocaine in his possession on March 19, 2015 at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Timehri for the purpose of trafficking.
Balram, who was represented by Attorney Deborah Kumar, was also ordered to pay a fine of $109,093,500 – three times the street value of the drug.
According to court facts, Balram went to the CJIA on the day in question with 50 buckets of items to ship. These included seasoning, mixed fruits and Chinese sauce. He presented all the necessary shipping documents with his name to the relevant authorities.
After receiving certain information, narcotics ranks stationed at the airport went to the cargo van and told Balram of their suspicion of him trafficking the illicit drug. As a result, a search was conducted on the items he had intended to export.
The search, which was conducted in his presence, revealed a whitish substance concealed in containers containing the Chinese sauce.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Vishnu Hunt presented the prosecution’s case. Before handing down her decision, the Magistrate took into consideration all mitigating factors. She underscored that the method in which the drug was trafficked was intended to deceive. Magistrate Latchman also noted the need to prevent others from contemplating the commission of the offence.
The convict had denied the allegation when he made his first court appearance on March 20, 2015, before former Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry. At that court hearing, the Prosecutor had objected to him being released on bail, citing the nature and gravity of the offence. It was also noted that the court was not provided with any special reasons for bail to be considered.
Throughout the trial, the convict had been on remand.
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