PHILIPSBURG--The Court of First Instance on Wednesday sentenced six suspects on drug smuggling charges, but acquitted them of membership in a criminal organisation, in what was dubbed the first major drug investigation of the Police Force of St. Maarten.
Main suspect Henry Richinsin (31), aka "Papillon," received the highest sentence of 42 months, six of which were suspended, on three years' probation.
He was found guilty of the transport of various quantities of cocaine between August 6, 2013 and January 29, 2014, among which were also several amounts of cocaine and so-called "bolitas," which were swallowed and ingested by drug-mules on various occasions between April 2011 and February 2014.
Especially co-suspect Sagerdy E. "Gusano" Gumbs (30), who was sentenced to 18 months, eight of which were suspended, on three years' probation, had extensively testified against Richinsin.
For example, Gumbs had informed the Police of how he had started to send cocaine via the Post Office to the Netherlands together with Papillon. The illicit drugs were hidden in hollowed-out books. He also mentioned the preparations of trips of several bolita-swallowers to the Netherlands in cooperation with Papillon and others. Gumbs is currently detained in the Netherlands.
The Court held Richinsin responsible for preparing the import and transhipment of large quanties of cocaine from South America to St. Thomas, as well as the export of cocaine to Europe via couriers, in cooperation with others.
Co-suspect Gilbert O. "Dundu" Wawoe (55) received 24 months, eight of which were suspended, on three years' probation, for his role in the preparation of large-scale drug transport.
Julissa Martinez Bautista (41), who is currently in the Dominican Republic, reportedly for medical reasons, was sentenced to one-year imprisonment for selling small quantities of cocaine from her Internet café in St. Maarten.
In sentencing, the Court took into account that she had failed to appear in Court for her trial, which led the Judge not to impose a partially-suspended sentence.
Randall M. Garraway (32) was sentenced to 360 days, 220 of which were suspended, on three years' probation, with 80 hours of community service. The Court found it proven that the Winair baggage carrier at SXM Princess Juliana International Airport had been instrumental in two shipments of 100 and 500 grams of cocaine from St. Maarten to St. Eustatius.
Juan M. Haddocks (38) received 230 days. Haddocks had denied his involvement in the preparation of drug transports and had said the wire-tapped telephone conversations were only about chickens.