Lithuanian man nabbed at E.T. Joshua Airport with over 35 cocaine pellets in stomach
From the Courts
March 1, 2013
Lithuanian man nabbed at E.T. Joshua Airport with over 35 cocaine pellets in stomach

A Lithuanian man, who swallowed over 35 pellets laced with cocaine, was sentenced to four years in prison on Monday, at the Serious Offences Court.{{more}}

Gytis Bukontas, 23, photographer, pleaded guilty to possession of 670 grams of cocaine with intent to supply at Villa.

He also pleaded guilty to possession of 443 grams of cocaine at the E.T. Joshua Airport and for attempting to export 443 grams of cocaine on February 15.

A visibly upset Chief Magistrate Sonya Young said she will not let foreigners come to these shores and get off easily when they commit crimes.

She sentenced Bukontas to four years in jail for possession of the 670 grams of cocaine and three years imprisonment each on the possession of the 443 grams and the export charge respectively.

The sentences will run concurrently.

Prosecutor, Inspector Adolphus Delpesche, in reading out the facts of the case, told the court that on February 15 at about 2:55 p.m., members of the Narcotics Division were on duty at the airport when an officer received certain information and as a result, kept Bukontas under surveillance.

Bukontas checked in with LIAT officials, cleared immigration and then made his way to the departure lounge, awaiting Liat flight 726, destined for Barbados.

PC John went to Bukontas and told him of his observation and requested a search on his person and luggage.

Nothing illegal was found.

John arrested Bukontas on suspicion of narcotics and asked him where he stayed while he was in St Vincent.

Bukontas, who arrived in the state on February 9, 2013, told the officer that he stayed at Kings Inn in Villa.

Police officers then took him to the hotel and upon searching the room in which he stayed, a belt was found, which Bukontas said belonged to him and the he had forgotten it.

A further search of the room turned up a black bag in the bottom drawer of a clothes closet. The bag was found to contain 50 latex packages filled with cocaine.

The officers then cautioned Bukontas, who replied “I understand that I am in big trouble now.”

As the search continued of the room, several transparent bags were found containing pink pellets. It was then Bukontas told officers that he swallowed 35 of those pellets.

He was taken to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and after consenting to an X-ray, the pellets were found in his body. Bukontas was given laxatives to help with the removal of the pellets.

On February 16, he passed out nine pellets, on February 17th, four, on February 20, six, and the following day, another four pellets.

All of the pellets were recovered and amounted to 443 grams.

The drugs are said to be worth a street value of EC$21,000.

When questioned, Bukontas said he works and goes to school. Checks of his passport revealed that he travelled to Argentina, Ghana and to United States in a four-month period.

Bukontas, who told the court that he got the drugs here, said he was taking them to England.

Mitigating on Bukontas’ behalf, attorney Grant Connell, who commended the Narcotics squad for their vigilance, said Bukontas was under duress to be used as a mule.

According to his instructions, he said threats were made to Bukontas’ family and suggested that the foreigner should be deported with immediate effect after fines and “other expenses” had been paid.

“…We can see he is not an experienced drug mule. Keeping him in jail is not helping the fight against the war on drugs. Why send him to Her Majesty’s Pleasure (prison)?… Let him pay a fine,” Connell suggested.

The magistrate, however, did not agree with Connell’s suggestions.

Magistrate Young said it is “scary” that Bukontas had to leave Lithuania to come to St Vincent to swallow cocaine.

“The cocaine has breached our borders when it came here and he also tried to breach it again by taking it out of St Vincent… I highly commend the police for this,” Young said.

A passionate Young said she does not want St Vincent to become like countries that engage in these activities and develop a big enterprise.

“I don’t ever want that. Not St Vincent. Not now, not ever. Wrong place, wrong time… I can’t find any reason to show him any mercy,” Young said.

“We will not sell St Vincent’s beauty. We will not sell our rights and freedom. Vincentians have the right to be here. They were born here and foreigners want to come here and do as they please…”

“No student can be travelling about like that unless he has a wealthy family and one of the top of the line cameras. I am going to put you away for a long time,” Young said.

Bukontas told the court that he does not use cocaine.

He just stood in the dock with his one hand under his arm and the other stroking his face.

“That’s why I asked if he uses cocaine. He has no teeth and he has the nicest of camera and can’t even fix his teeth? I don’t know what is happening that foreigners feel they can come to St Vincent and do as they like. I won’t allow it!” Young said.

Young placed a removal order against Bukontas following completion of his sentence.(KW)