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Drug Mule's Cocaine Pellets Burst on Plane

Colmin Smith, age 48, was flying from Antigua to London with 239 grams of cocaine (about 1/2 pound) in pellets in his stomach. Shortly after the packed Virgin Atlantic flight took off, the pellets burst. He managed to tell a flight attendant right before he lost consciousness.

The plane made an emergency landing in Bermuda, where medics performed emergency surgery at the airport, and then took him to the hospital. He survived, and then had to face the judge.

The penalty: No jail, just a fine of 417 pounds (about $700.00). Why did he catch such a break? [More...]

The prosecutor explained to the media afterwards:

‘There was no evidence that the drug was to be peddled on Bermuda's streets so he could only be charged with possession. ‘If he had been found guilty of supplying the narcotics he would have been banged up for life.

‘He is one very lucky man. He came close to losing his life, either by overdose or by life sentence.

The judge told him:

Senior magistrate Archibald Warner told Smith he should ‘thank his lucky stars’ he was here to face charges rather than dead.... ‘You should thank whoever you worship, or look to, because you are really lucky. ‘You didn't come to the first heaven, but you came to Bermuda, the second heaven.’

Smith paid his fine, and with the help of the British embassy, flew back home.

He is indeed lucky. These two Americans weren't so lucky in Bermuda last year, when they did the swallowed similar amounts.

I wonder what the outcome would have been if the plane landed in Miami instead of Bermuda. Would DOJ and the DEA have said since he knowingly possessed the drugs, and he was inside the U.S. when the drugs were removed from his stomach, he's guilty of possession with intent to distribute -- regardless of where he intended to distribute them?

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