By FARRAH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A 40-year-old man who said he cultivated marijuana plants because he wanted to see how they grew was fined $1,500 in court yesterday.
Devaughn Culmer was charged with cultivating marijuana and being in possession of a quantity of Indian hemp with the intent to supply, after officers found several marijuana plants at his residence on July 13.
The court heard officers went to the residence around 1.30pm armed with a search warrant. When they knocked on the door, a woman answered and was informed that the officers would be conducting a search of the home in reference to dangerous drugs and firearms. While the officers did not find anything illegal in the house, they discovered 39 marijuana plants — all between the height of one and five feet — in flower pots outside the home.
About 2pm that same day, officers, acting on information, went to Baillou Hill Road where they cautioned and arrested the defendant. In an interview with police at a nearby station, Culmer told officers the plants were his and claimed he had grown them during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the prosecution, Culmer also said he knew “people were going to talk, so he just wanted to see what they were going to say”. At the time, Culmer also said he had grown the plants for his personal use to make tea.
When given an opportunity to speak during the hearing yesterday, Culmer told the magistrate he was a “spiritual individual” who only cultivated the plants because he “wanted to see how they grew and learn about (the process) a bit more”. He also insisted he never had any intentions to sell the marijuana and claimed his mother was about to “pull the plants up and discard them anyway.” Stating he took “full accountability” for his actions, Culmer asked the magistrate for leniency and insisted he would not make the same mistake again.
After accepting Culmer’s guilty pleas, Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes fined him $500 for cultivating the marijuana plants and another $1,000 for having the drugs in his possession to sell. He also warned Culmer if he failed to pay the fines, he would spend two months at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.
Meanwhile, Brian Webb Jr, 30, also appeared before Magistrate Forbes yesterday, after he was charged with two counts of simple possession.
He pleaded guilty to both counts and was conditionally discharged for 12 months on the agreement that he would attend drug counseling classes at the Department of Social Services.
Prosecutor Claudette McKenzie said around 4.05pm on the day in question, officers on mobile patrol observed two males in a blue Honda Accord acting suspiciously. As a result, they approached the men and conducted a search of their vehicle. Upon doing so, they discovered one silver foil wrap along with a plastic bag under the passenger seat of the car.
According to Inspector McKenzie, both of the items contained a quantity of suspected marijuana. The men were subsequently arrested and taken to the Nassau Street Police Station. When the officers searched Webb Jr’s wallet while he was in custody there, they found another silver foil wrap and clear plastic package containing a quantity of suspected marijuana in his wallet. In an interview with police, Webb Jr also said the marijuana found in the car and the wallet belonged to him. As a result, he was charged for the offence. Inspector McKenzie said the drugs had an estimated weight of seven grams and a street value of $20.