A retired Canadian dispatcher who smuggled heroin into the country was yesterday jailed for three years.
But Reginald Merritt, 54, of Montreal, Canada, will serve an extra year behind bars if he doesn’t pay a $50,000 fine.
Officers from the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) arrested Merritt on December 27, 2018 after he arrived at Lynden Pindling International Airport on a British Airways flight.
The officers took Merritt into a room and performed a personal search, but did not find anything illegal on him.
However, the officers found 9 ½ pounds of heroin secreted away in hidden compartments in his luggage and a portfolio.
The prosecutor, Inspector Philip Davis, said that Merritt told investigators about the circuitous route that he took to bring the drugs here.
According to Merritt, he traveled from Canada to Paris before heading to South Africa, where he collected the bags. From there, he went to London and took a flight to The Bahamas.
Merritt claimed he was supposed to collect $3.5 million after delivering the bags.
Merritt pleaded guilty to charges of possession of dangerous drugs and importation of dangerous drugs before his trial began before Magistrate Samuel McKinney.
His lawyer, Ian Cargill, said that the father-of-three was remorseful and had not wasted the court’s time.
In passing sentence, McKinney considered Merritt’s clean criminal record, his remorse and early guilty plea. However, he also weighed the deleterious effect that the heroin could have had on the community if police had not arrested him.
McKinney told Merritt that he would not impose the maximum sentence of seven years.