Sentence: 3 years and $10,000 — the crack cocaine the woman, 35, was carrying weighed 1.2 grams
A Crooked Tree woman was sentenced to 3 years in prison and fined $10,000 after she pleaded guilty to one count of drug trafficking for 1.2 grams of crack cocaine when she appeared before Magistrate Stephanie Gillett in the #8 Magistrate’s Court late this afternoon.
After Magistrate Gillett read the charge of drug trafficking, she asked Raquel Elizabeth Gomez, 35, to enter a plea.
Gomez, who catches and sells fish for a living, said “guilty.”
Gillett asked her if she knew what it was that she was pleading guilty to.
Gomez replied, “This is the first time I am coming to court.”
After the court prosecutor read the police facts of the charge, Gillett took a five-minute adjournment, telling Gomez to think about what she would say when the court resumed.
The Magistrate returned to the bench and Gomez returned to the prisoner’s dock.
“Now, Ms. Gomez, tell me why I should not send you to jail,” Gillett asked.
“I have a young daughter and no one to leave her with,” Gomez replied. “I no waan go da jail,” she cried.
Gillett remarked: “I no waan send you, either.”
And then the Magistrate dropped the bombshell: “You are sentenced to 3 years in prison. In addition, you are fined $10,000 to be paid by November 15, in default, 3 years in prison. The sentence is to run consecutively to any other sentence being served.”
In tears, the Crooked Tree fisherwoman pleaded: “Miss, I nuh have nobody fi tek care a mi daughter, mi mother done dead.”
“I am sorry; that is the law,” Gillett said, as Gomez took a seat in the court to await the trip to the Belize Central Prison at Hattieville to begin spending her first three years of imprisonment.
The sentences mean that Gomez, if she cannot find $10,000 by November 15, 2014, will most likely spend 6 years in jail.
As the law goes, the magistrate can exercise her discretion to impose only the fine, especially for a first-time offender.
Gomez is the mother of a 17-year-old daughter. She lives with her common-law husband, who is also a fisherman and sells cashew seeds during the cashew season.
Gomez’s sister, Rhonda Gomez, told Amandala this evening that no one in their family has that kind of money to pay the court fine. Raquel’s common-law husband, she said, does not have a regular job. This means, Rhonda said, that Raquel will most likely default on the $10,000 fine, which will add another 3 years to her prison sentence.
According to police, about 5:30 this morning, W.P.C. Thompson and other officers went to conduct a search at the residence of Raquel Gomez in Crooked Tree Village.
A search of Gomez’s house did not yield anything incriminating. However, a search of her person turned up a small tube-like container that was inside the area of her left brassiere.
The container contained a total of 20 pieces of suspected crack cocaine, including three small aluminum wrappers with suspected crack cocaine.
The suspected drug was weighed in Gomez’s presence and amounted to 1.2 grams.
Before Gillett handed down the sentence, Gomez told the court that some friends were at her house and left behind the container with the crack cocaine.
Gomez said that when the police knocked on her door, she put the tube-like container inside her brassiere.
“I was not thinking,” she said.