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February 7, 2013
Star News


Woman sentenced for attempted cocaine smuggle
Christopher Thomas, STAR Writer


A St James woman, who attempted to smuggle two pounds (900 grams) of cocaine in her vagina and underwear, wept openly when she received her sentence in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Thirty-eight-year-old Chantelle Bailey, from Barnett View in Montego Bay, was ordered to pay a total fine of $350,000 or spend six months in prison, plus a mandatory 18 months' imprisonment for possession of, dealing in, and attempting to export cocaine.

The facts are that on November 11, Bailey attempted to board a Caribbean Airlines flight destined for Nassau in the Bahamas, from the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.

During a routine search by airport officers, a rectangular package was found hidden in her underwear. She was taken for a further search, which revealed a cylindrical package hidden in her vagina. Both packages were found to contain cocaine, and Bailey was subsequently arrested and charged.

financial difficulties

In court, Bailey's lawyer Jean Williams pointed out that the defendant was driven to commit her crime because of financial difficulties arising from having to care for her deceased sister's children.

"One of the things that came out in the social enquiry report was the fact that she (Bailey) has done what she did because of financial difficulty. It speaks of a situation where she is now charged with the responsibility of her departed sister's children," Williams explained.

"She is indeed sorry for breaching the law, and she knows nothing comes without consequences. What we're asking is for the court to consider other alternatives other than a mandatory incarceration," the lawyer added.

But in making her ruling, Resident Magistrate Sandria Wong-Small chastised Bailey for not considering the consequences of drug-smuggling.

"You have to understand that when you undertake this venture, you must consider the consequences if you are caught. Having undertaken this venture knowing what the consequences are, you have to be prepared to face them," RM Wong-Small told the defendant.

Bailey will pay a $150,000 fine or spend six months in jail for possession of cocaine, and $200,000 or six months for attempting to export cocaine, plus a mandatory 18 months' imprisonment; she was admonished and discharged for dealing in cocaine. All the terms of imprisonment will run consecutively if the fines are not paid.

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