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Canadian man jailed in Barbados after pleading guilty to importing 30 kg of cannabis

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The 59-year-old was unable to pay a fine of $52,000 and was subsequently sentenced to 36 months

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A 59-year-old man from Toronto has been jailed after attempting to smuggle more than 30 kilograms of cannabis into Barbados in two suitcases.

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The man was unable to pay a fine of $80,000 (about $52,000) and was subsequently sentenced to 36 months, reports Barbados Today.

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  1. Officials pose with drugs confiscated recently off of Martinique. /

    French navy operation seizes half a tonne of cannabis from speedboat

  2. Cannabis is legal in the country for medicinal purposes and scientific research. / PHOTO BY MAURO PIMENTEL /AFP via Getty Images

    Labourer charged after found with almost 60 kg of cannabis

  3. “In the same way that we go where science takes us, we have to go where the law requires”

    In Barbados, freedom of religion means freedom to consume cannabis

The man was apprehended at the Grantley Adams International Airport earlier this month after customs officials searched his luggage.

They reportedly revolved found 30 vacuum-sealed packages of cannabis in one piece of luggage and 31 similar packages in the man’s second suitcase. In all, the cannabis weighed 30.8 kilograms and was valued at $246,000 (about $160,000).

Police were then called to the airport and took the man, who waived his rights to an attorney, into custody. The man was reportedly in contact with a representative from the Canadian consulate.

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The court heard that the man could not afford a lawyer and viewed the smuggling attempt as “an opportunity.”

“I don’t know what to say. I have never done this before. I did it because my daughter committed suicide two years ago and she left two grandchildren and I am trying to take care of them the best I can,” he said, adding that the father of the grandchildren had died in a motor vehicle accident.

The man, who is unable to work due to injuries and collects a disability pension in Canada, said he had about $5,000 to his name.

“It was a lot of bad things that led to this situation,” he added. “So, I mean, whatever. It is what it is. I don’t have money.”

The island country in the southeastern Caribbean Sea legalized medical cannabis in 2019, and consumption for religious purposes is also permitted but the plant remains illegal for recreational use.

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According to an International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, the island sources much of its cannabis from nearby islands, such as St. Vincent and Jamaica, and it is delivered by speedboats. 

Earlier this year, the French Navy seized 560 kilograms of cannabis during an operation on the Caribbean Sea island of Martinique. Officials spotted an unidentified speedboat in international waters west of Martinique and called in a helicopter. As the chopper approached the boat, officials observed the boaters tossing bundles into the sea.

The cannabis was later recovered and seven Venezuelan nationals were arrested.

In 2019, while discussing his plans for ‘Tyson Ranch,’ a 420-acre California-based cannabis farm, Mike Tyson said he’s also planning on building a similar destination in the Caribbean, with another marijuana theme park in the islands of Antigua and Barbados. It’s not clear if that idea ever got off the ground.

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