Man accused of using courier service to ship cocaine on bail

MONTEGO BAY, St James — A man who attempted to use a courier company to ship cocaine overseas was granted bail in the sum of $500,000 in the St James Parish Court on Wednesday.

Thirty-four-year-old Savanna-la-Mar resident Andre Cooper is facing charges of possession of, dealing in, attempting to export, and conspiracy to export cocaine. He is being represented by attorney-at-law Shane Walker.

Allegations are that on October 26 Cooper went to a courier company in Montego Bay, St James, to ship a package overseas. The package allegedly contained one pound and 9.8 ounces of cocaine.

Following the discovery of the drug, the police arrested Cooper on November 2 and charged him with breaches of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

When cautioned, Cooper reportedly said to the officer, “Yes, I went to ship the package, but I didn’t know what was in it.”

During his submission, Walker told the court that his client had no knowledge of the package contents.

“He wasn’t the one who prepared the package… He was assisting a friend and is not a part of any criminal network,” the attorney said.

“What was he doing in Montego Bay?” presiding judge Sasha-Marie Smith-Ashley asked.

“He has relatives in Montego Bay, Your Honour,” replied the lawyer.

“And he just happened to be visiting them and dropping off a package?” the judge quizzed.

“The situation is this, Your Honour, it’s not the first time that the friend had asked him to assist him and there has never been any issue of this nature in relation to these allegations. He also has relatives in Anchovy,” said Walker.

The attorney stressed that his client is not a member of any organisation that engages in illegal activities.

Walker also stated that his client has no previous convictions and is not a flight risk and requested that bail be granted.

The prosecution did not object to bail but informed the court that the forensic certificate and arresting officer’s statement were still outstanding.

Smith-Ashley then offered Cooper bail in the amount of $500,000 with up to two sureties. He was also instructed to report to a specific police station on specific days. In addition, he was asked to surrender his travel documents and a stop order will be issued at all ports to prevent him from leaving the country.

Cooper is to return to court on January 29, 2024.