Paramaribo-connection: again courier caught with cocaine

POSTED: 11/29/12 3:28 PM

GREAT BAY – For the third time in a month a Surinamese drugs courier stood trial in the Court in First Instance yesterday. On October 25, the court sentenced Furgin Pengel to 14 months imprisonment and Jemmi Felter to 12 months. Compared to these sentences Edam got off light: 15 months imprisonment, of which 9 months conditional and 3 years of probation.

Edam, 25, told the court that he had swallowed seven bolitas containing 925 grams of cocaine. He said he was promised $1,000 upon delivery of the drugs.

Asked about his motives, Edam said that he needed the money. “I used to go gold digging in the interior in Suriname. But there are a lot of illegal Brazilians there now. The interior has become a dangerous place; people are robbed and murdered,” he said.

When the defendant said that is was a nuisance for him to be imprisoned in St. Maarten while his wife in Suriname is in the last stage of her pregnancy, Judge Tamara Tijhuis told him: “You could have thought of that beforehand.”

“You are right,” edam answered.

Tijhuis wondered about the economics of the trip. “you stood to receive $1,000, but you had $992 in cash on you. You were going to spend as much as you were going to make. That is not logical.”
Prosecutor Gonda van der Wulp told the defendant that his explanation was insufficient to drop the charges. “You are part of a large chain and there are heavy criminals behind it. I do not see reasons to diverge from our guidelines.”

The prosecutor demanded 15 months, with 9 months suspended and 3 years of probation.

Attorney Arnout Kraaijeveld did not contest the charges since his client had confessed to them, but pleaded with the court about the purpose of imprisonment. “It has to deter and to prevent a repeat. My client took his responsibility and cooperated frankly with the investigation.” The attorney also asked the court to consider that Edam hardly receives visitors in Pointe Blanche.

The tearful defendant expressed regrets for his actions to the court and asked the judge to consider his personal circumstances.

Judge Tijhuis told the defendant that he had taken an enormous risk. “Those bolitas contain pure cocaine and if they burst it is immediately fatal,” she said. “It is not even certain that you would have received your money. It happens that couriers are beaten up after delivering the drugs and put on a plane back home. You are now in an unpleasant situation, but you are responsible for it.”

The judge said that the prosecutor’s demand was rather mild, but that she took his personal circumstances into account. The sentence was identical to the demand.

“This means that you will not be home when your wife gives birth, but it won’t be too long before you’ll be able to go home,” mr. Tijhuis said.

Edam accepted the verdict and will not appeal it.

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