‘Gullible’ taxi/ambulance driver learns his lesson the hard way
A “gullible” taxi/ambulance driver who apparently thought he was transporting cannabis instead of the cocaine he was found with, has escaped immediate prison time but received heavy fines for possession, drug trafficking related charges.
It has been one year since Alfred “Freddie” Crosby, of Orange Grove first appeared at the Serious Offences Court (SOC) charged with the offences of possession 1077 g of cocaine with intent to supply, and for the purpose of drug trafficking.
Several appearances later, last Friday, February 12, with a different lawyer at the helm of his case, counsel Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, Crosby chose to enter a guilty plea for the offences.
According to the police, on January 29, 2020, at 10 pm, acting on information received, they went in search of motor vehicle H 6633, a blue Toyota Noah. While the police were driving along the Highway, in the vicinity of the National Emergency Management Organization(NEMO) headquarters, they passed the said vehicle travelling towards Kingstown.
The police immediately turned and tailed the vehicle as it drove to Ottley Hall. They eventually stopped the vehicle and the officers discovered Crosby and three other occupants in the van. Nothing illegal was found on the person of the individuals but a search of the vehicle revealed a black plastic bag on the floor of the driver’s seat.
Inside of this bag was a pillowcase, which contained a rectangular shaped tightly wrapped package covered in black and transparent wrapping containing the drug.
During his electronic interview at the police station, Crosby informed “Officer is weed was inside the bag.”
Counsel for the defense, explained that what had happened was “he was a taxi driver at the time and was taking passengers somewhere, called to take the passengers somewhere, and he got caught up in this thing.”
Her client is 43 years old, married, the father of two children, and is the sole breadwinner of the family. He has also been an ambulance driver for 10 years.
Crosby had apparently been told that it was marijuana he was carrying.
“You will note that marijuana no longer carries the stigma that it did,” Bacchus-Baptiste noted, with Parliament passing legislation to permit a certain amount of the drug to be held.
She also contended, “…it’s completely out of the ambit of cocaine in a way because he in his mind he thought it was marijuana.”
The lawyer noted that the defence could have contested the charges because the prosecution has to prove possession, but they decided not to trouble the court.
Bacchus-Baptiste explained that her client has already been severely punished financially, as his vehicle is being kept by the police. She believes that he has lost some $26,000 in income because of this.
“You will note from the facts the prosecution gave you, other persons were in the vehicle which supports the fact that he was the driver, transporting other persons,” she also said. One lawyer represented all of the parties in the beginning, causing some conflict, from which “I think he suffered,” the counsel said.
She recommended a fine be imposed.
“I believe he has learnt his lesson. He is very contrite, he has said that to me. He has regretted so much just being so believing, so gullible at the time,” in order to make a quick $75.
The defense begged the mercy of the court.
Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche also recommended a fine in the circumstances.
All things considered, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne imposed an $8000 fine to be paid by July 30, or Crosby will suffer 10 months in prison. He must also pay $9500 by the same date or spend 11 months in prison. Default sentences will run concurrently.