Probation after drugs seized at prison

Three women who were unwilling pawns in a bid to smuggling marijuana to an inmate received a conditional discharge on Friday.

Police arrested Doris Bethel, 31, of Ragged Island Street, Joan Johnson, 34, of Fox Hill,  and Charmaine Higgs, 45, of Sunshine Park, following the January 18 discovery of 3 3/8 ounces of marijuana, a Samsung cellphone and an Alcatel Wi-Fi box hidden in a pair of tennis shoes.

They pleaded guilty to possession of dangerous drugs, however, they denied the charge of introducing prohibited items into a correctional facility at their arraignment before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt.

The items were intended for an inmate serving a 10-year sentence for manslaughter.

Bethel, a cleaner, asked Johnson to take the shoes to the prison for her friend.

However, prison officials denied her entry on the grounds because she was improperly dressed in tights and a camisole. So, she asked Higgs, a stranger, to take the bag containing the shoes inside for her.

Higgs was there to bring clothing to another inmate.

Prison authorities detained Higgs after an x-ray showed the items concealed in the soles of the shoes. A bag of marijuana was in one shoe, and the cellphone and Wi-Fi box were in the other.

After Higgs said Johnson had given her the bag, they went outside the compound and arrested Johnson.

Police later arrested Bethel on her job.

Ferguson-Pratt granted the women a conditional discharge on the drug charge. She ordered them to perform 40 hours of community service and to be of good behavior for four months.

Failure to comply with either condition will result in two months’ imprisonment.

The women will return to court for the second charge on May 20.

Attorneys Troy Kellman, Glendon Rolle and Bjorn Ferguson represented the women.

Attorney Inspector Samantha Miah prosecuted.

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Artesia Davis

Artesia primarily covers court stories, but she also writes extensively about crime.

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