Vincentian and St Lucian charged jointly for drugs and possession of illegal ammunition
Peterson Thomas pleaded guilty for illegal possession of ammunition and cannabis
From the Courts, News
June 25, 2024

Vincentian and St Lucian charged jointly for drugs and possession of illegal ammunition

A St Lucian was ordered to pay $15,000 immediately after pleading guilty to being in illegal possession of ammunition and cannabis.

Peterson Thomas appeared at the Serious Offences Court on Thursday June 20, 2024, for sentencing. Thomas was jointly charged with Garo Williams of Lowmans Leeward that on Tuesday June 18, 2024, they had in their possession 33,142 grammes of cannabis and three rounds of ammunition. However, Williams was transferred to the Kingstown Magistrate Court to answer to his charges, while Thomas answered his charges at the Serious Offences Court.

The facts in relation to Thomas, read that on the date in question at about 6:00 p.m, a party of Rapid Response Unit (RRU) officers went to the home of Williams in response to a report that was made.

When the officers arrived they met Thomas in the yard. One of the officers identified himself and his colleagues to Thomas then questioned Thomas about himself.

Thomas informed them that he is from St Lucia and is living in the same house as Williams. Thomas was then informed of the report that was made.

Thomas invited the police officers in the home. Upon entering the house, PC991 Providence observed that there were some lines hanging in the living room, and hanging from those lines, were plant-like materials resembling cannabis.

He cautioned Thomas, who denied having any knowledge of the materials. While there, Williams came out of a bedroom of the said house, and the police requested to search the bedroom to which Williams consented.

Williams and Thomas were taken to the bedroom. While searching the bedroom, PC Providence found a black garbage bag which she opened it in the presence of Thomas and Williams.. She saw plant-like materials resembling cannabis.

PC Providence conducted a further search and found more plant-like materials resembling cannabis. The officer asked Thomas and Williams if they had a licence to be in possession of the drug, and both said “no.”

PC Providence cautioned both defendants in respect of the drugs that were found in the home. They gave no response. PC Providence continued the search in Williams’ bedroom and found three rounds of ammunition on a dressing table.

She cautioned Thomas and they both men said, “I ain’t know nothing about that.” PC Providence asked if they had a licence to be in possession of ammunition; they both said no.

The officer then pointed out the offence of possession of unlicensed ammunition to them. Providence then informed Thomas that she was arresting him on suspicion of possession of unlicensed ammunition, and also for possession of controlled drugs with intent to supply to another.

The drugs were weighed in Thomas’ presence and amounted to 33,142 grammes. Samples were also taken in Thomas’ presence. On Wednesday June 19, 2024, PC Providence took the three rounds of ammunition to Brighton where she met and spoke to Station Sergeant Cain, a gazetted ballistics expert.

She handed the rounds of ammunition to him; he examined them in her presence and found them to be three live rounds of ammunition. PC Providence then went to the Firearm Registry in Kingstown and made checks which revealed that Thomas is not the holder of a licence for ammunition.

Thomas was subsequently charged for possession of ammunition, and illegal possession of controlled drugs. He had no antecedents. Prosecutor, Renrick Cato informed the court that the cannabis had a street value of $36,500.

However, Ronald Marks, who acted as a friend of the court in the matter, argued that the court needs to adjust how they arrive at a total street value when people are charged with these offences.

“We have to do some changes,” Marks told Senior Magistrate Colin John, while adding that the indictment for these offences no longer reads “possession of cannabis”, but is “possession of cannabis without a licence”.

Marks said as it stands now, the poor man, with 20 pounds of weed is being penalised, while foreigners and other persons are making millions of dollars. He also said greater efforts are needed to educate the public how to obtain a licence in order to financially benefit from the cannabis industry.

The Senior Magistrate considered Mark’s submission, as well as the sentencing guidelines,and fined Thomas $10,000 to be paid forthwith, in default of which he will spend one year in prison.

He said the fact that Thomas does not reside in this country “plays an issue in the court”, and he could escape this fine by leaving the country.

The Magistrate also informed Thomas that the maximum penalties for gun-related offences have been adjusted from $20,000 to $25,000 in fines; and from seven years in prison to 10 years in prison.

He then ordered Thomas to pay $5,000 forthwith or spend six months in prison for the offence of illegal possession of ammunition. A removal order is to be made after the fines have been paid, or the sentences have been served.

Co-defendant Williams’ matter in the Magistrate’s Court was adjourned for trial.