Drugs smuggler jailed

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  • Magistrates Court (photo by Glenn Tucker)

    Magistrates Court (photo by Glenn Tucker)

A drugs mule who was caught after smuggling a stash of fentanyl into Bermuda believed to be worth nearly $800,000 has been jailed for seven years.

Jacqueline Robinson swallowed 45 pellets of the lethal drug before travelling from Toronto to Bermuda on December 15 last year.

The 25-year-old Canadian national made it through LF Wade International Airport, but collapsed five days later in a hotel room having excreted all bar one of the pellets.

She admitted her involvement in the smuggling operation and was given a discounted sentence at Supreme Court this week for co-operating fully with the police.

But in the first case of its kind involving fentanyl in Bermuda, Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe warned that those who tried to smuggle fentanyl on to the island could expect a prison sentence of between 18 and 21 years after trial.

Mr Justice Wolffe noted the devastating effects of fentanyl and stated that the 18 to 21-year starting point was before any mitigating factors were taken into consideration. Prosecutor Cindy Clarke told the Supreme Court that it was likely that fentanyl was already prevalent on the streets of Bermuda, and that there had been reported overdoses at Westgate Correctional Facility.

She said: “To a drug trafficker, fentanyl provides a greater profit margin. It is cheaper than heroin.”

Ms Clarke added: “Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate painkiller. It can be mixed with heroin to increase its potency, but dealers and buyers may not know exactly what they are selling or ingesting.Fentanyl can be lethal and is deadly at very low doses. Fentanyl, carfentanyl and other fentanyl-related compounds have recently gained unprecedented notoriety in North America.

“In Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has declared a state of emergency for the province of British Columbia due to over 600 deaths in British Columbia alone in 2016. Fentanyl and carfentanyl are killing thousands across Canada and USA every year.

“Fentanyl is often pedalled as heroin. It can be lethal at the 2mg dosage range, depending on route of administration and other factors.”

On December 20 last year, Robinson was rushed to hospital after being found unconscious on the balcony of her room at the Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club. While she was being medically assessed she vomited a pellet, which was later tested and found to be 5.83 grams of fentanyl.

Ms Clarke told the court: “If the defendant did in fact swallow 45 pills the total weight would be approximately 262 grams; which would have had a street value in Bermuda of $768,520 if it was sold as heroin.”

The 44 other pellets, which Robinson told officers she had already excreted, were never recovered by police.

Robinson, who has no previous convictions, remained in hospital for nine days and was treated for severe kidney failure.

She was rearrested for conspiracy to import a controlled drug and later told detectives she had been recruited in Canada to travel to Bermuda to take out $10,000.

She said that on the night prior to her travel she was collected and told to swallow the drug pellets, which she did, before getting on board the Bermuda-bound flight.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.

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Published Jul 22, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Jul 22, 2017 at 8:17 am)

Drugs smuggler jailed

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