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July 7, 2014
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British nationals plead guilty to cocaine smuggling
Christopher Thomas, STAR Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Two British nationals who reportedly attempted to smuggle liquid cocaine on a flight out of Jamaica last year will be sentenced in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court today, after they pleaded guilty to the offence on Friday.

Twenty-nine-year-old Jaharie Silvera, a sales representative, and his 27-year-old cousin Rene Henriquez, both of London addresses, had initially pleaded not guilty to the charges of possession of, dealing in and attempting to export cocaine. However, they changed their plea to guilty last Friday, following which their case was set for sentencing today.

It is alleged that on May 11, 2013, at approximately 2:30 p.m., Silvera and Henriquez were seen at the Sangster International Airport, in Montego Bay, with travelling bags, which were searched by officers on duty at the airport.

Silvera's bag was found to contain 10 plastic bottles which had a green-and-blue liquid substance in them, while Henriquez's bag had five bottles of a similar substance. Subsequent tests revealed that Silvera's bottles had one pound and 13 ounces of cocaine in them, while Henriquez's bottles had over 14 ounces of cocaine. Both men were arrested and charged.

Attorney-at-law Ernie Smith, who is representing both men, asked Resident Magistrate Wilson Smith to be lenient in sentencing them, as they had been tricked into carrying the contraband.

"It is clear that they are neither drug users nor dealers, but they were tricked by a combination of friends and relatives, because they had only come to Jamaica to visit distant relatives, and they were both asked to take back gifts for other persons. They were asked to take back therapeutic liquid soap," said Smith.

"They have thrown themselves at Your Honour's mercy, this is a case in which Your Honour could favourably consider not imposing a custodial sentence," he added.

"I will pass sentence on the 7th of July. Their bails are extended," replied RM Smith.

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