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Bajans face life imprisonment, if convicted on drug charges

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Four Barbadian men face a possibility of life imprisonment on multiple drug charges when they return to the High Court for sentencing on June 28.{{more}}

The men: Joel “Ole man” Payne, 51, of Bank Hall, St Michael; Ryan Corbin, 36, of Cave Hill, St Michael; Shawn “P” Boucher, 37, of Lower Estate, St George; and Devon Hurdle, 39, of Rendezvous, Christ Church, pleaded guilty during the course of trial on Tuesday, June 4.

The men are charged with possession of 1,706 pounds of marijuana, with intention to supply, attempt to export a controlled drug, drug trafficking and conspiracy to traffic in drugs.

According to the facts of the case, the men were apprehended by the local Coastguard in Fancy with the drugs on board a Barbadian registered pirogue, “Rolling Deeper,” bearing registration number X349, on July 13, 2012.

Payne, who claimed ownership of the vessel, said he had left Barbados the previous day with his colleague Boucher, to go fishing. He said they went close to St Lucia, but were unsuccessful in catching any fish.

According to Payne, they decided to come to these shores. While here, he said, another vessel came with some packages and began loading them onto his boat.

Payne added that they set sail for Barbados, but while on their way, they turned back after hearing the sound of a plane circling overhead.

It was while making this return sojourn, the Coastguard intercepted them.

Petty officer Edwin Durrant testified that he headed a party of four officers who were on patrol, when the vessel was spotted on the radar.

Durrant said the vessel was travelling at a slow pace when he gave instructions to have the vessel stop, which the men complied with.

Upon boarding the foreigners’ vessel, a total of 24 sacks containing taped packages with the drugs were found.

It was also noted that no fishing gear, tackle or any storage facilities was found on board the vessel.

The men face a maximum of 25 years imprisonment and a fine of $5,000,000 for the charge of possession with intent to supply. Twenty-five years imprisonment and a fine of $1,500,000 on the attempted export charge and life imprisonment on drug trafficking and conspiracy charge.

The Crown, led by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Colin Williams and Crown Counsel Kareem Nelson, have already indicated their intention to seek forfeiture of the vessel, as well as pursue confiscation proceedings against the men.

The conviction comes nearly three weeks after seven Trinidad and Tobago nationals were convicted at the High Court on drug trafficking charges.

The men were nabbed with 1,651 pounds of cannabis.

At that time, it was noted that it was the first time in more than a decade that anyone was prosecuted in the High Court for a drug trafficking offence.

Attorney Grant Connell appeared on the Barbadians behalf and Justice Wesley James presided.

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