Last dragnet for weed smokers in south Trinidad

POLICE cast a last dragnet for weed smokers and pushers at the weekend before Monday's midnight proclamation of the recent amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act.

Some appeared in magistrates' courts in southTrinidad on Monday morning and were convicted and fined, some for a mere 5.1 grams.

In the case of Julien Salandy, a barber, police searched him on Friday and found marijuana in his pants crotch.

Salandy, 56, appeared before magistrate Anslem Leander andpleaded guilty to possession of 6.7 grammes,

He was arrested at about 5.30 pm by members of the Southern Task Force.

As Salandy stood in the dock, having been locked up since Saturday, police prosecutor Cleyon Seedan said cops spotted Salandy on Lord Street and became suspicious when he turned his face in the other direction.

"The defendant was searched and in his undergarments, the officer found plant-like material resembling that of marijuana," Seedan said. Salandy was charged by WPC Leeann Boodram.

Attorney Alysa Habib told Leander that having regard to the amendment and the 6.7 grams being way below the stipulated 30 grams which one can now legally possess, Salandy should be discharged.

Leander told Salandy the marijuana seemed a large amount for 6.7 grams, and added,"Sir, I take into account your guilty plea,the small quantity and the new legislation. However, you start to smoke too early."

He fined Salandy $500, which he must pay within a week.

Also appearing before Leander was Darrvl Neverson, who was arrested on Friday on Coffee Street, San Fernando, with 24.9 grams. He pleaded guilty, after which Seedan told the magistrate police found the marijuana in his crotch.

Neverson admitted he smoked weed three times a day and said the 24.9 grams would last him a week. He was fined $800.

Next to appear was Aleem Khalid Mohammed, who pleaded guilty to possession of 5.1 grams. He was arrested on Saturday on the SS Erin Road. Leander fined him $400.

Kwasi Mabatano appeared next, for possession of 84.1 grams, at Kings Wharf, San Fernando. He pleaded guilty to having such a quantity, which is more than twice the amount he could legally have had from midnight on Monday.

A fisherman on Kings Wharf, Mabatano said he goes out to "make a tide" with other fishermen and uses marijuana to deal with pain in his leg.

"It is for me and my family," he said, which prompted the magistrate to ask, "So the whole family smoking?"

Seedan, however, explained that whilst each person is entitled to 30 grams, police will prosecute a group of people for having marijuana in their possession which exceeds the legal amount.

Leander fined Manatana $1,500 or four months in jail.

In the Princes Town magistrates' court, which is housed in the Rio Claro magistrates court, one person was fined for 4.2 grams. In the Siparia magistrates' court, two people were reprimanded and discharged by the resident magistrate for possession of small quantities on Saturday.

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"Last dragnet for weed smokers in south Trinidad"

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