Friday, January 14, 2011

U.S. wheelchair user charged with trying to smuggle cocaine out of Guyana

From AFP:

GEORGETOWN - A 65-year-old paralysed American woman was ordered jailed on Jan. 14 pending the start of a trial into how she allegedly stashed cocaine in her wheelchair to smuggle it into New York.

Maxine Batts was charged with being in possession of more than 9kg of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

After Batts pleaded innocent and told the court that she did not know anything about the cocaine, Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry remanded her to jail until Feb 7 for a status hearing.

Police last on Monday intercepted a car in which Batts was travelling to Guyana's Cheddi Jagan International Airport to board a flight to New York.

The police prosecutor told the court that the cocaine was found wrapped in nine parcels in the seat and back of the wheelchair.

The woman, who arrived in court in a wheelchair, was not represented by a lawyer. She said that she had gone to Guyana to visit friends but since she was arrested, she has been abandoned. Guyana is considered a major transshipment for South American cocaine to North America.