Visitor ordered to pay $100,000 after cocaine found in cabin on ship
“I will not tolerate anybody bringing drugs here to pollute this population that is already struggling with a drug problem.”
With those words, Acting Magistrate Alliston Seale fined Canadian cruise visitor Clifford Uba Ejimanu $75,000 forthwith for trafficking and another $25,000 for importing one and a half kilos of cocaine on Saturday.
The fines were not paid, and both fines carry an alternative of two years in prison.
Ejimanu was convicted, reprimanded and discharged on the charges of possession and possession with intent to supply the drugs.
He appeared before Seale in the District “A” Magistrates’ Court today and pleaded guilty to all the charges.
In outlining the facts, Acting Station Sergeant Junior Kirton said that Ejimanu arrived in Barbados on the cruise ship Oceana on February 21.
Acting on a tip-off, police searched his cabin and found two plastic bags inside his luggage. One contained 61 taped packages and the other 53.
They also found US$4, 430 which the man said was some of the money he got for carrying the drugs.
Seale said he intended to seize the funds and anyone wishing “to justify to this court why the money should not be forfeited” has four weeks in which to do so, before the money goes to the Crown.
In accounting for the narcotics, the 49-year-old told police “a man gave them to me to deliver when I get in South Hampton, for $4,000.”
In his address to the court, however, the visitor said he did not know why police took the money, since it belonged to his cabin mate and he was only keeping it for him because his luggage had no lock.
As for where he got the drugs, Ejimanu said he met a man in St Lucia on Saturday, while the cruise ship was in the harbour. They struck up a conversation and the man asked him where he was from. He told the man Canada but he was originally from Africa.
The man then told Ejimanu that he had an African friend as well, whom he called, and when the friend arrived and Ejimanu realized he could speak the same language he did, the stranger asked him to deliver a package to someone in South Hampton, England.
Ejimanu said he had no idea it was drugs, otherwise he never would have taken it. The man told him it was gold chips. The cruise visitor also told the court that he was sick and had a child on the way.
When asked by the acting magistrate if it was his first time in Barbados, the drug-mule said it was.
“And you heard that Barbadians are foolish people? We have a well-educated and well-informed population down here. Well-informed enough that they could find the drugs you had. You really expect me to buy that? That a man that does not know you would trust you to carry chips of gold?” Seale questioned.