Despite a sterling mitigation plea by his lawyer Roderick Jones, Union Island resident Israel Thomas was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday, for possession of 257 pounds of marijuana with intent to supply.
Thomas, 32, of Ashton, Union Island, had pleaded guilty when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne at the Serious Offences Court on Tuesday.
Thomas was charged jointly with Keith Williams, also of Union Island, who pleaded not guilty to the charge. He was granted bail in the sum of $80,000 with reporting conditions, and ordered to surrender his travel documents. He will return to Court on January 29.
The facts presented in Court, in relation to Thomas, revealed that police officers from the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) arrested him around 7:15 p.m., January 11, during a stop and search exercise, along the Ashton public road. Nine sacks, covered by a tarpaulin were found in the pan of the vehicle in which Thomas was travelling.
The sacks were taken to the Ashton Police Station where a search was conducted, and several taped packages were found which when cut open, revealed the marijuana.
In mitigation, Jones told the Court that at age 6, Thomas’ world turned upside down when his father, who was the sole breadwinner of the family, died unceremoniously.
“This had significant implications for the well-being of the family. Things became difficult. He was unable to finish school because his mother could not afford to provide him with an education,” Jones explained. The situation, according to Jones, led his client to succumb to the illicit drug trade which is difficult to exit, once you get in, without serious intervention.