18 years behind bars for Jamaican druggist in Bermuda

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hands-behind-bars.jpgA 38-year-old Jamaican from the central parish of Manchester, who fled from customs officers at Bermuda's international airport before they found heroin worth three-quarters of a million US dollars in his luggage, was jailed for 18 years by a Supreme Court judge on Wednesday.

Omar Davy claimed that he was forced to bring two packages to the island from Canada after threats were made against himself and his family. But on Monday the 11-person jury unanimously found Davy guilty of drug importation, possession of heroin with intent to supply and the obstruction of a customs officer, taking just half an hour to reach its verdict.

Delivering the sentence on Wednesday, Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves noted the jury delivered the verdict in "record time". He added that a strong message must be sent to dissuade others who seek to profit from bringing drugs into the island.

Prosecutors alleged that Davy smuggled 220.88 grams of heroin -- worth up to US$765,700 to the island on July 10 last year.

The court heard that Davy, who said he worked from home as an architectural draughtsman, arrived at L F Wade International Airport on a flight from Toronto and was selected for a secondary search. As his bags were being searched, a drug-sniffing dog indicated that he had an illegal substance on him.

The search of his bags found nothing, but when the customs officer went to see her superior, Davy was seen on close-circuit television taking an object from the back of his trousers and stashing it in the searched bag.

Questioned by the customs officer, Davy said he had to deal with a traffic ticket in Bermuda and that he planned to stay with his girlfriend while on the island.

Davy later ran out of the airport and led customs officers on a foot chase. He was able to flag down a truck, but a security guard on a motorcycle stopped the truck and Davy was arrested.

Davy told the court that the day before his flight he was abducted by a group of men at gunpoint over money he owed to a Jamaican don.

He told the court the men beat him until he could barely stand and choked him unconscious.

Davy said he agreed to bring a package to Bermuda with him after the men threatened to kill him and his family members in Jamaica.He said he had no idea what was in the package, and ran out of the airport because he panicked. But prosecutor Alan Richards said Davy's story was a "movie script" made up in the hope of escaping a conviction.

He said a police officer present during a strip search of Davy hours after his arrest saw no bruises, cuts or swelling.

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