Alvan Lovelace, a 36-year-old mini-bus owner and operator of Campden Park, is into his third day of a 23-month prison term for drug trafficking.
Lovelace was sentenced to 23 months for possession of 270 pounds of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, and 21 months for possession with intent to supply.
The sentences are to run concurrently.
Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne handed down the penalities at the Serious Offences Court on Tuesday, following a sterling mitigation plea from Lovelace’s lawyer Grant Connell.
Lovelace had pleaded guilty to the charges since August, but sentencing was adjourned.
Acting on information, officers from the Rapid Response unit (RRU) headed by Corporal Lafleur Williams, had intercepted Lovelace and two others in his mini-bus at Pembroke around 12:20 am on August 20.
The bus was travelling from the Leeward.
Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delpleche, in presenting the facts, told the court that when the occupants were questioned, Lovelace said, “Officer, me have some sacks of weed in the van.”
Corporal Williams informed the three that they would be arrested on suspicion for controlled drugs.
They were taken in custody, along with the vehicle, and a thorough search revealed seven nylon sacks.
Lovelace took responsibility, saying he was given a $500 job to collect the sacks at Chateaubelair.
The sacks were cut open in their presence, revealing the marijuana.
The other occupants denied knowledge of the drugs.
In mitigation, Connell told the court that Lovelace was the father of eight children, and at the time, and also took care of an uncle who is now deceased. He noted that Lovelace had expressed remorse and cooperated with the police from the beginning. He added that his client pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity and had no previous convictions of a similar nature.
Connell asked the court to impose a fine. He disclosed that Lovelace had brought to court $4,000 which was all the money he had in his Credit Union.
Connell asked the court to allow his client to pay the $4,000 forthwith and whatever balance the court imposes within a year or so.
But the Chief Magistrate, following the sentencing guidelines, and weighing the aggravating and mitigating factors, arrived at the custodial sentences.
When contacted on Wednesday for a comment, Connell told THE VINCENTIAN, “I have done cases before involving foreigners, chased and captured on the High Seas by local Coast Guard and found in possession of much more marijuana. They were taken to court, pleaded guilty, and were ordered to pay fines with alternative prison sentences.”
The lawyer declined to comment further.