By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE captain of a Haitian sloop used to smuggle over $100,000 pounds of cocaine into the country last year has had his prison sentence shortened on appeal.
Terry Nacius will now serve three years in prison instead of the five years he was sentenced to for smuggling $135,000 worth of drugs into the Bahamas last September. His new sentence is three years and six months—to take effect from September 26, 2018, the date he admitted to the offence.
On September 21, 2018, Nacius and a group of other Haitians were arrested after officers from the Drug Enforcement Unit’s Marine Support Unit and US law enforcement officials conducted a search of a Haitian vessel near a harbour in Matthew Town, Inagua.
Nine packages of cocaine were discovered in a compartment near the hatch onboard the vessel. The drugs weighed 19.8lbs and carried an estimated street value of $135,000, police said.
During an interview with police, Nacius, a farmer from La Tortue, Haiti, admitted to stashing the cocaine inside the boat, along with others, before making for the Bahamas.
Days later on the 26th, Nacius was charged along with three others before Senior Magistrate Subusola Swain with possession of dangerous drugs, importation of dangerous drugs, conspiracy to import dangerous drugs and conspiracy to possess dangerous drugs. Those offenses attracted sentences ranging from four to seven years.
During the arraignment, Nacius admitted to the offences, and further explained that he, along with others, loaded the drugs on to the vessel in Haiti. He said his original plan called for him to contact another person to collect the drugs once the group made landfall in Inagua.
In mitigation, however, Nacius, via a translator, told the court: “I shouldn’t be sent to prison for a long time because I am guilty. I am the captain of the boat. I have been to the Bahamas before. I have a family back in Haiti. I have a wife and children. I have nine children. I work in Haiti as a farmer. My children and wife are in Haiti. They all depend on me for their upkeep.”
Nonetheless, Nacius, was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to be deported once his sentence is served.
Nacius was charged with a dozen other Haitians, nine males and three females in connection with the drug bust. However, five of that number, namely Alina Aly, Lukenson Pierre, Nelson Joseph, Erode Pierre and Angeline Lubin, were sentenced to two months in prison for giving false names to officers when asked about their identities.
They were also ordered to be deported after their respective sentences are served.
Attorney Stanley Rolle from the Office of the Public Defender represented Nacius on appeal.