News Article - October 06, 2009

By Amanda Dale

  Customs officers in Philadelphia have discovered yet another cannabis-smuggling plot aboard a Bermuda-bound airliner. A US Airways jet was delayed for two hours on Friday after 20 lbs of marijuana was found in the cargo hold. According to reports, a worker at Philadelphia International Airport noticed a man enter the 'belly' of the plane with a rucksack. When he left the plane without it, the worker contacted the authorities. A search of the aircraft by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials uncovered 20 lbs of cannabis. Police are continuing their inquiries into the incident, which follows the arrest of two Bermudians at the same airport last month on suspicion of drug trafficking.

   Sanchez Smith and Shakai Darrell were both en-route from Montego Bay, Jamaica, to Bermuda when they were apprehended by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. The pair were found to have ingested a total 1.5 lbs of hash, in 112 thumb-sized plastic pellets. The drugs are said to have a street value of $20,000. According to CBP, Smith, 20, admitted he was a trafficker following his arrest on September 18. After passing 74 pellets, he was released from hospital on September 26 and taken into Pennsylvania State Police custody.

   Darrell, 25, of Pembroke, was apprehended at the airport on September 25 and went on to pass 38 pellets of cannabis before being taken into Philadelphia Police custody. Allan Martocci, CBP port director for Philadelphia, said at the time that internal smuggling was "rare for Philadelphia". He added: "CBP enforcement officers will work hard to put an end to Philadelphia being used as a narcotics gateway." Last night, a Bermuda Police Service spokesman did not wish to comment on the latest case, but said: "The Bermuda Police Service on a daily basis is continuously in communication with overseas law enforcement agencies to try and interdict drugs coming to our shores."

Source - Royal Gazette