A Guyanese man, who was caught with 21 pounds of cocaine in an X-box game and packets of biscuits during a stopover in the country, was yesterday slapped with a five-year prison sentence in addition to a $1.5-million fine, which if not paid will see him spending another five years in jail.
Forty-two-year-old Ivan Noel, an electronic trader of a Georgetown address, was sentenced in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court following his previous guilty plea for possession of cocaine, dealing in cocaine, and importing cocaine.
He was fined $500,000 on each of the charges or serve five years in prison. However, the sentences are to run concurrently to the mandatory five-year sentence if the fines are not paid.
Noel was also charged for conspiracy to import cocaine but pleaded not guilty and no evidence was offered.
Yesterday, before the sentence was passed, his attorney Jacqueline Cummings told the court that Noel fell on hard times and was recently diagnosed with cancer. She said that he had an operation to do which costs $30,000, which if not done could result in dire consequences.
Also, Cummings said that Noel was having problems supporting his daughter who is in school, and as a result agreed to do a carriage for man whom he met in Curacao.
She then pleaded with the judge not to impose a custodial sentence on him so that he could return to Guyana to receive treatment.
But Senior Magistrate Judith Pusey said that she was not impressed by Noel's medical condition or his problems with his daughter as he knew the situation before he agreed to import the drugs.
The magistrate then expressed doubt about her ability to sentence Noel, saying that the amount of the drug was too much and that he needed to go before the Circuit Court where they had more powers.
"Five years for 21 pounds of cocaine is a joke," she said, before handing down the sentence.
Noel was caught at the Norman Manley International Airport on June 11 when he arrived on flight from Curacao. He was destined for Panama.
Police said he was held with US$1,900 and told them that he was given US$5,000 to deliver the drugs.