Two American women face court on drug trafficking charges

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Two New Yorkers were hauled before the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on Tuesday to answer to drug trafficking charges after packages of cocaine were found strapped to their thighs and calves at the Norman Manley International Airport.

The women, Shemika Roberts, a dancer, and Dorinda Shaw, a teacher and caregiver, were charged with possession of cocaine, dealing in cocaine, attempting to export cocaine and conspiracy to export cocaine, on September 21. The women were slapped with the charges following a question-and-answer session in the presence of their attorney, Ayisha Robb-Cunningham, at the Narcotics Division headquarters in downtown Kingston.

Roberts and Shaw pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The allegations are that the women were apprehended on Thursday, September 15, at the airport when police officers from the Narcotics Division noticed irregularities during security checks.

After searching the women, it was discovered that they had four packages of “cocaine strapped to their thighs and calves.”

The packages found on Roberts, according to court documents, weighed three-pounds and 13-ounces. And for Shaw, the packages weighed four-pounds and 6.5 ounces.

The court was told that the Communication Forensics and Cybercrime Division (CFCD) report, along with the forensic report, is outstanding. As such, the prosecution requested additional time to complete the file.

Hearing that Robb-Cunningham intended to apply for bail for her clients, the prosecution opposed bail, arguing that “they are foreigners” and should remain in jail until the matter is dealt with.

However, the attorney challenged this position. She argued that the women have connections in the island they can stay with. Robb-Cunningham also said that there were precedents where accused people who lived in another country were offered bail.

But, a date for bail application was not decided on.

Additionally, Senior Parish Judge Lori-Ann Cole-Montague was informed that the investigating officer requested access to Robert and Shaw’s phone, but it was denied. The investigating officer submitted an application pursuant to provisions of the Cybercrimes Act, which the judge signed allowing them to legally search the devices.

The women are to return to court on October 28.

BY CANDICE HAUGHTON , Observer Online Reporter haughtonc@jamaicaobserver.com

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