By FARRAH JOHNSON
A 31-year-old man was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty yesterday to possession of drugs with intent to supply. He was also accused of having an illegal firearm and ammunition.
Satchmo Saunders appeared before Magistrate Andrew Forbes after police found an unlicensed tactical rifle and 28 unfired rounds of ammunition at his residence on May 23. He was further charged with possession after officers found a clear plastic bag containing Indian hemp in the western bedroom of his residence the same day.
He pleaded guilty to all three charges and was sentenced to two years in prison for the unlicensed firearm, two months for the illegal ammunition and three months for drug possession. All of the sentences were ordered to run concurrently.
He was charged with Sandra Cartwright, 65; Daniel Cartwright, 55; and Stephen Bethel, 50. They all denied the allegations and the prosecution elected to withdraw the charges made against them.
Prosecutor Lincoln McKenzie told the court around 9.30am on the day in question, officers went to Saunders’ residence with a search warrant and informed the residents of the house that they would be conducting a search in reference to dangerous drugs and firearms. Sgt McKenzie said during the search, officers found the rifle, ammunition and Indian hemp.
During the hearing, Saunders was represented by attorney Ian Cargill. He told the magistrate that his client had no previous convictions. He also said that Saunders, who works as a mason, was not present when the police conducted the search. Mr Cargill said once Saunders learned of what had happened he called him, and he in turn, turned the defendant over to the Central Detective Unit (CDU). Mr Cargill also argued that his client did not waste the court’s time by pleading guilty at his earliest opportunity and noted that Saunders had admitted to “holding” the items for another person during his record of interview with police.
He also said the firearm was found in a locked room that officers had to pick a lock to get into and argued that no crime had been linked to the weapon. As it relates to the drug charge, Mr Cargill said his client was a smoker for almost two years and had the marijuana for personal use.
In response, Magistrate Forbes said while there was no evidence to suggest Saunders was involved in gang activities, people who are found to be in possession of illegal firearms put themselves and others at risk. As a result, he sentenced Saunders to two years at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.