Cocaine game with X-box lands youth $53,300 fine
A 22-year-old who played the wrong game when he decided to conceal cocaine in his X-box console, as well as more cocaine and cannabis elsewhere in his residence, is now facing a $53,300 fine.
Jomodean Alexander was given until yesterday, December 9, to pay $10,000 of this sum or he will face prison time for his actions.
The sum was paid, his lawyer Grant Connell told SEARCHLIGHT.
The balance of $43,300 must be paid by the end of April 2020.
Alexander, a Dorsetshire resident faced the gavel for his possession of 2,364g and 38g of cocaine, and 732g of cannabis last week Tuesday, December 3, his 22nd birthday.
The police operation had caught three persons in its net on September 23 this year, namely, Alexander, Glenlyn Lee, 38, of Sion Hill/Walvaroo, and Lonnie Wilson, 46, of Toronto, Canada.
However, Wilson was sentenced last week for his possession of 2,020g of cocaine. He had been in prison since he was arrested; he being a Canadian citizen without ties to St Vincent, bail was not open to him. A fine of $30,000, to be paid forthwith, was imposed in his case.
When the charges related to the 2,364g, 38g of cocaine and 732g of marijuana were put to Lee and Alexander this Tuesday, Alexander admitted his guilt, while Lee maintained his innocence.
Consequently, the prosecution, led by Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche made the move to withdraw the charges against Lee, leaving Alexander alone.
The court heard that at 5am in the morning, the Rapid Response Unit, the Special Patrol Unit and the Narcotics Unit of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines police force carried out a joint operation wherein they were going to execute a search warrant in relation to controlled drugs and ammunition.
This party, led by Inspector Bailey, descended on an apartment building in Dorsetshire Hill. The officers made their way to the top floor of this building when they arrived, and there they met the three men.
The officers searched this apartment but found nothing illegal, and then Inspector Bailey proceeded to check a suitcase that Wilson was “carrying.” Embedded within a false compartment of this luggage, packages containing a white substance was found, and a field test determined this to be cocaine.
“Holy f**k” Wilson apparently said, before collapsing to the floor.
The Inspector escorted the men to the ground floor, where he met PC Alfred of the Narcotic Unit. They commenced a search of an apartment on the ground floor where Alexander resides. The lesser amount of cocaine as well as the cannabis was found there. Within a black X-box two red taped packages contianing cocaine were found.
Defense attorney Grant Connell, who represented both Lee and Alexander, stressed that Alexander played a lesser role in the crime.
“He expressed extreme remorse for his limited involvement in the matter,” Connell indicated.
The lawyer suggested that there was an addition to the facts, and that what really happened was that Wilson told the officers exactly where to search in the ground apartment.
And so, “the ever competent police officers go downstairs, on instruction of Lonnie Wilson, and go directly where Lonnie Wilson say,” and find the drug, Connell stated.
He continued that Alexander, a previous virgin to the law, had no great income.
For the Marijuana, Connell pointed out that “It was found in his bedroom, of his apartment, not in contumelious disregard for the law.”
He submitted that it was a small amount of “personal weed,” which was not in the face of the police.
The Senior Prosecutor was not looking for a custodial sentence for the young defendant. When the defendant told Delplesche that he was turning 22 that day, the prosecutor stated, “Today?… Happy Birthday to you.”
Delplesche mused to the court as to what to do with such a person.
“Do we throw him in prisons to further develop…or give him an opportunity there to further develop his criminal skills? Or do we try to give him an opportunity to rehabilitate himself?” the prosecutor commented.
“Prosecutorial – I would not recommend a custodial…,” he stated, noting that Alexander has no previous convictions. He continued that he would give the defendant an opportunity “to organize his life properly.”
However, Delplesche noted, “His youthfulness must not overshadow the seriousness of cocaine possession, and other crimes.” He recommended a fine in the realm of 15 to $20,000.
Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne adjourned the matter to the following day, Wednesday, December 4, for sentencing.
“Clearly your involvement is through your youth and naivety, little awareness to the real scale and magnitude of the operation and it’s unfortunate that you fell into that trap,” she stated.
Although she started with a custodial sentence for the greatest amount of cocaine, she started at 5% of the maximum sentence. She felt the offence was aggravated by its sophistication, because the drugs were hidden within an X-box. However, this was balanced on mitigation by his vulnerability, age and lack of criminal record.
Considering the value of the substance, the magistrate began with a fine of $75,042, from which she took a third off for his guilty plea. The final amount was $50,028, which was rounded off to $50,000.
For the 38g of cocaine a similar process was followed, resulting in a fine of $2,300 being imposed, and for the 732g of cannabis, a fine of $1,000 being imposed. These were originally told to be paid forthwith, and Alexander was also instructed that he would have to pay some of the $50,000 forthwith as well.
When Alexander’s lawyer seemed dissatisfied, Browne commented “I am giving him an opportunity by a non-custodial sentence but he must understand the gravity of the situation and I do not want him to be easily lured or caught.”
However, after a period of time the magistrate allowed the 22-year-old some time to pay, and he did not have to pay anything forthwith.