Swiss man involved in drug smuggling scheme sentenced to time served

A Swiss man, who admitted his role as a mule in a cross-country drug trafficking conspiracy, was released from prison yesterday.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes sentenced Rene Buffat, 67, to time served after Buffat pleaded guilty to charges of drug possession with intent to supply, drug importation, conspiracy to possess drugs with intent to supply and conspiracy to import drugs.

Buffat, a retired electrical engineer, spent eight months in custody on remand before he pleaded guilty on Thursday.

Buffat broke down and wiped away tears as he thanked Forbes.

Police arrested the retired engineer at Lynden Pindling International Airport shortly after he arrived from Panama on November 21, 2019.

The officers found five pounds of cocaine, valued at $50,000, in a false compartment in Buffat’s duffel bag, the court heard.

He told officers that he was supposed to drop the bag to a man he knew as Amadou, in London.

Defense lawyer Jairam Mangra said that Buffat was sorry for allowing himself to be used in the drug smuggling scheme.

Mangra said that Buffat has lost a significant amount of weight during his remand. He said that Buffat had to be treated for his hypertension in hospital.

Forbes concurred that Buffat was significantly slimmer compared to his appearance at his arraignment.

Forbes said this was troubling given Buffat’s age.

The magistrate said that he had the “misfortune” of sentencing 73-year-old drug mule Esperanza Bonet-Roig on Wednesday.

Forbes said he found it baffling that senior citizens would participate in such schemes.

Bonet-Roig was also sentenced to time served after spending five months in custody.

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Artesia Davis

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

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