Customs officer charged in connection with $400K drug bust to return to court in September

Al Antonio. (Social Media Photo)
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By Latrishka Thomas

A 26-year-old Customs officer will return to the St John’s Magistrates’ Court on September 10, to answer to several charges relating to the possession of 40 pounds of cannabis.

The accused, Al Antonio, appeared before Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh yesterday, where his lawyer, Wendel Robinson claimed that the police erred in their investigation, because the broker who was found in possession of the drugs was not charged, and he stated that there was not sufficient evidence against his client.

The magistrate therefore adjourned the matter in order to investigate Robinson’s claims.

Antonio, who is a resident of the Old Runaway, was arrested and charged with possession of cannabis, possession with intent to transfer, being concerned in the supply of the drug, importation of the drug, and drug trafficking.

The contraband, valued at over $400,000, was seized during a joint exercise between the Police’s Narcotics Division and the Customs & Excise Division last week Thursday.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated matter, Chief Magistrate Walsh sentenced 25-year-old Patrick Mowatt to pay $90,000 in total for the possession of firearms, ammunition, and drugs.

In January 2020, officers executed a search warrant in Upper Gambles and upon searching the premises, the officers found a small laptop bag containing a red bag in a bedroom; within that bag was a pistol.

The defendant denied knowing who it belonged to, and when asked, he admitted that he didn’t have a firearm licence.

As the search continued, the defendant told the officer: “okay; I am going to be honest with you officer. I have about two rounds in a box on the dressing table and another firearm on top of the barrel in the hallway.”

The search continued and the officers found several rounds of ammunition and a black and silver pistol in the location Mowatt described.

But later the officers found a bag containing another bag on top of the kitchen counter with several packages with a substance resembling the controlled drug cannabis, and a silver, black and brown pistol.

Another bag with several packages were subsequently discovered.

The defendant was taken to the police station along with the three guns, 24 rounds of ammunition, and 12 packages which when weighed, amounted to eight and a-half pounds of cannabis, with an estimated street value of $34,000.

The magistrate ordered Mowatt to pay $50,000 for possession of the drug and $20,000 each for possession of the firearms and ammunition.

She further agreed to allow Mowatt to pay $8,000 upfront and $3,000 each month until the payment is made in full. His lawyer, Michael Archibald reminded the magistrate that his client had already spent six months in jail. She then set the default prison time for non-payment to a year.

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