Smuggled drugs to Barbados – 19 Airline Employees convicted!
Earlier today, former American Airlines baggage handler Victor Bourne, a Barbadian national, was sentenced to life in prison for his leadership of an international drug trafficking organization called the “Bourne Organization” by law enforcement, that smuggled cocaine from the Caribbean into the United States. Bourne was convicted of narcotics trafficking offenses and money laundering following a month-long trial in October 2011.
In total, the investigation that culminated in Bourne’s conviction and sentence has resulted in 20 convictions, including the conviction of 19 airline employees, the seizure of 13 kilograms of cocaine and 2,900 pounds of marijuana, and the forfeiture of US$6.9 million.
Cocaine hidden in aircraft parts and compartments
The evidence at trial proved that, between 2000 and 2009, the Bourne Organization utilized corrupt employees of commercial airlines, including American Airlines, working at domestic and international ports of entry to smuggle illegal narcotics into the United States and throughout the Caribbean. Bourne paid dispatching crew chiefs at American Airlines to assign crews of baggage handlers, who, in turn, were paid tens of thousands of dollars by the Bourne Organization to retrieve the cocaine from the flights upon arrival. The cocaine smuggled aboard American Airlines flights into JFK Airport was hidden behind panels in the front and rear cargo holds, the ceiling and wing assembly, and in the aircraft’s avionics and other vital equipment compartments.
After removing the cocaine from these locations, the corrupt baggage handlers hid the drugs inside their coats and airline equipment bags to avoid detection by law enforcement and safely transport the drugs to Bourne. The government proved at trial that, in this manner, the Bourne Organization was responsible for the importation into the United States of over 150 kilograms of cocaine. At the time of his arrest in 2009, Bourne was preparing to transport even larger quantities of cocaine in cargo containers from the Carribean to the United States.
An American Airlines employee at JFK Airport who was not involved in drug trafficking testified that Bourne accused him of stealing two kilograms of cocaine. This witness testified that Bourne threatened to “kill me, my family, my kids” if the drugs were not returned. Shortly thereafter, Bourne confronted the same employee at the airport and pushed him off of a truck, causing a neck injury.
The evidence at trial also established that Bourne was responsible for the shipment of over 5,000 pounds of marijuana aboard cargo vessels, in part through a Brooklyn footwear company, to businesses in Barbados.
Bourne reaped millions of dollars in illegal cash proceeds from his illegal drug trafficking, and laundered his drug proceeds through businesses and real estate ventures in Brooklyn and Barbados.
Breaking News: Barbadian Victor Bourne, mother Maria Alleyne Bourne, charged in massive cocaine smuggling via American Airlines
International drug smugglers usually rot in prison for years. Why was the court so easy on Keith Allen?
Admitted drug trafficker and smuggler Keith Richard Otway Allen (above) is a lucky man today because he’s walking free when all reason and legal precedent says he should be in Dodds Prison for years.
Allen spent less than two months in jail after being arrested last November smuggling 65 pounds of cannabis into Barbados. Somebody paid a fine of US$125,000 and Allen walked out a free man. Many men rot away in Dodds for years for far less a quantity of drugs and would love to pay a fine instead. I guess those international drug smugglers aren’t as ‘LUCKY’ as Mr. Allen.
There’s no indication that the judge or Allen’s attorney Sir Richard Cheltenham asked any questions or demanded proof about where the money for the fine really came from. Yup, Allen is one lucky drug smuggler, alright. I wonder if he appreciates how very lucky he is.
Oh yes… Allen is or probably “was” a LIAT pilot, so his drug smuggling involved a certain breach of trust. Of course he got caught during his first time. Everybody gets caught during their first time, don’t they?
Will attorney Sir Richard Cheltenham assist Raul Garcia?
I wonder if Allen’s attorney, Sir Richard Cheltenham, would be so good as to assist Raul Garcia who’s been rotting away in prison for almost 20 years? Mr. Garcia is currently into day 12 of a hunger strike because he is being unjustly held in a maximum security prison on an immigration matter 2 years after being released from serving a 20 year sentence for drug smuggling.
How about it, Sir Richard? Will you take some time to try and assist Mr. Garcia? Please?
Here’s the article from The Nation. Please read it at their website, but we have to put it up here because the Bajan press has this terrible habit of adjusting history when they feel like it… Continue reading
London woman jailed for seven years: Smuggled Cocaine from Barbados
Whoaloss! We thought she liked to visit Barbados for the sun, sand and surf. Apparently Jennifer Weekes had other things on her mind while visiting our island: like purchasing bricks of cocaine.
Barbados has been in the news quite a bit recently for the wrong reason: Cocaine. Apparently we are in the ideal location to serve as a major distribution and sales point for the number one cash crop in South America.
We were actually surprised ourselves to see the number of posts we’ve written on cocaine. And with the cocaine problem comes the money laundering problem. Cocaine is big money – so big that we’ve even had drug-dealing Barbados police officers and St. Vincent police transporting cocaine to Barbados.
Cocaine also fuels violence and other crimes. I always wondered if the unsolved murder/assassination of retired Chief Immigration Officer Kenrick Hutson had anything to do with violent drug gangs. Before becoming Chief Immigration Officer, Hutson was an Assistant Superintendent of Police. I guess we’ll never know for sure why the man was murdered, and lest you think I’m disrespecting him or associating him with criminals – he could have been murdered for refusing to cooperate, for being honest and for what he knew.
The cocaine industry and sub-culture directly threatens our tourism base
Do a Google Search on “Barbados + Cocaine” and you’ll soon see that our country is front and center in the drug smuggling wars.
We need to pay our police officers much more than we do because the police are the thin line that keeps the drug culture at bay. Make no mistake here: the cocaine industry directly threatens our tourism base because drugs foster violence and other crimes.