(JAMAICA GLEANER) – Percival Joseph, the Canadian who was arrested on February 21 after attempting to smuggle 14lb of cocaine out of Jamaica via the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, has been sentenced to two years in prison and fined J$5 million.
Joseph, a 42-year-old travel representative from Ontario, Canada, wore a resigned expression as he was sentenced in the St James Parish Court on two counts of possession of and attempting to export cocaine. He had also been charged with dealing in cocaine, but those charges were withdrawn by the prosecution.
During the sentencing hearing, Joseph’s lawyer, Martyn Thomas, appealed to Parish Judge Sandria Wong-Small for leniency, pointing to his reputation and financial struggles he faced.
“He was at an all-time low, as he was working two jobs to make ends meet, but with mounting bills, he made this foolish decision,” Thomas said.
However, Wong-Small scolded Joseph for choosing the cocaine smuggling option to address his financial woes.
“The situation that’s been outlined before the court is a case of ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’.
This was a very ill-advised venture, as these are very serious offences,” said Wong-Small.
Joseph was sentenced to a mandatory two years’ imprisonment on each count of possession and attempted export of cocaine. He was also ordered to pay J$1 million or spend six months in prison on each count of possession, and J$1.5 million or six months on each count of attempted export.
If the fines are not paid, Joseph’s mandatory custodial sentences will run consecutively, meaning a total of four years behind bars.
Joseph and his 18-year-old son, Ishan Joseph, checked in at Sangster to board an outgoing flight to Toronto, Canada. During a routine security check, the cocaine, valued at J$8.3 million, was found inside false compartments in their luggage, and the two were arrested and charged.
The charges against Ishan Joseph were withdrawn on March 2.