Man to be Hanged in Singapore for Importing About Two Pounds of Pot

A man who imported one kilogram of cannabis (about 2.2 pounds) from Malaysia into Singapore in 2018 is set to hang after his appeal against the conviction and sentence was dismissed by the Apex Court on Tuesday, October 12.

Channel News Asia reports that Singaporean Omar Yacob Bamadhaj, 41, was sentenced to death in February after being convicted of one count of importing cannabis into Singapore. Bamadhaj was caught smuggling three bundles containing at least one kilogram of cannabis.

The country’s zero-tolerance policy for drugs has led to the hangings of hundreds of people, including dozens of foreigners. 

During a routine border checkpoint at Woodlands Checkpoint late in the night on July 12, 2018, police discovered the bundles Bamadhaj was carrying. His father drove the vehicle, but was found to be unaware of the cannabis bundles.

The Alleged Crime

Bamadhaj agreed to smuggle the cannabis—a Class A drug in Singapore—two days earlier on July 10, 2018 and collected three bundles wrapped in newspapers a day later near a mosque. Bamadhaj allegedly obtained the packages from two friends, Din and Latif. Bamadhaj first said that he agreed to deliver the packages and then said he did not know what they contained.

When asked why there were differences in his accounts, Bamadhaj reportedly replied, “I said that because I was not at the right state of mind. I was feeling high from the stick I had smoked with Din. High to me is like being semi-conscious.”

On Tuesday, Bamadhaj’s lawyer Hassan Esa Almenoar said there was reasonable doubt as to whether Bamadhaj imported the drugs knowingly or not, and said it was “difficult to conclude that he planned all this”.

Bamadhaj argued that the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers had coerced him into admitting to the crime, threatening him, saying, “If you refuse to admit to this, I will throw both you and your father to be hanged.”

Tourists who smoke pot may be in for a bit of culture clash if they choose to visit Singapore—a famously intolerant country with penalties for drugs reaching up to death by hanging. Singapore applies corporal and capital punishments to foreigners—going beyond what other drug-free countries do.

In  2016, when a Nigerian named Chijioke Obioha was hanged in Singapore for possession of 2.6 kilograms of pot.

Singapore and Cannabis

Some countries in Asia are exceptionally intolerant when it comes to drugs. In 2014, Jackie Chan’s son Jaycee did six months of hard time in jail after being busted with 100 grams of cannabis in China. But Singapore’s punishments for drugs make China’s punishments look like a cake walk.

In Singapore, you can be jailed for failing to flush the toilet. Business Insider published an article in 2012, entitled “How to Travel in Singapore Without Getting Caned.” It listed other serious Singaporean “offenses” including selling gum or sipping water on a train. Or standing too close to a child. One graffiti vandal, Mas Selamat bin Kastari, for instance, was slapped with “a terror plot” for political stencil graffiti.

Singapore is one of the worst places on the planet to get caught with pot. Singapore courts can dish out the death penalty to anyone caught with over 500 grams of cannabis—around 1,000 joints. 

Singapore also does hesitate to punish foreigners if they are caught with drugs, unlike other drug-free nations such as Saudi Arabia or China. In those countries, a foreigner caught with drugs would most likely be deported instead.

Singapore doesn’t even need evidence of drug possession to jail a foreigner. Singapore might be the world’s only country that will require drug tests to foreign nationals and then arrest anyone who fails the test.

The post Man to be Hanged in Singapore for Importing About Two Pounds of Pot appeared first on High Times.

Six Rikers Island Guards Charged in Drug Smuggling, Bribery Case

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors announced charges Tuesday against six New York City correctional officers accused of taking thousands of dollars in bribes to smuggle drugs to inmates at the Rikers Island jail complex.

Fifteen other people, including several inmates, also were charged in criminal complaints unsealed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.

The scheme had been under investigation since early 2019, prosecutors said, and involved guards sneaking a smartphone, marijuana and other drugs into the troubled jail complex.

Investigators said they found a dozen clear plastic bags of marijuana after searching one inmate involved in the conspiracy. They said he also had an iPhone and charger in his laundry bag.

Authorities said they reviewed financial records, conducted surveillance and listened to recorded calls in which the defendants used coded language to talk about the smuggling. In at least one instance, prosecutors said, “Oakland Raider jerseys” was code for marijuana.

“Contraband smuggling enterprises have long plagued city jail facilities,” Margaret Garnett, the commissioner of the city’s Department of Investigation, said in a news release. “The arrests today are another example of a pattern in which inmates and outside conspirators identify correction officers vulnerable to corruption and use them to carry drugs and other illegal substances into the jails.”

The Department of Corrections officers charged in the case are: Darrington James, 30, Patrick Legerme, 29, Aldrin Livingston, 31, Michael Murray, 28, Angel Rodriguez, 23, and Christopher Walker, 28. It was not immediately clear whether they had defense attorneys to comment on their behalf.

A dozen of the defendants were expected to appear before a federal magistrate Tuesday. Prosecutors said three others remained at large.

New York City lawmakers voted in October to close Rikers Island, one of the world’s largest jails, and replace the complex with four smaller jails intended to be more modern and humane and closer to the city’s main courthouses in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

Rikers is scheduled to shutter by 2026.

The post Six Rikers Island Guards Charged in Drug Smuggling, Bribery Case appeared first on High Times.

Man Caught Traveling With 80 Pounds of Weed Disguised as Christmas Presents

Cannabis culture includes a long, rich, and often times very interesting history of smuggling. And in many cases, these stories involve all sorts of creative methods for sneaking weed where it is not allowed.

Looks like this history has another incident to add to the books. This time, a man attempting to fly out of Nashville International Airport was caught with weed wrapped up to look like Christmas gifts.

Busted With Fake Presents

According to the Associated Press, the man who was allegedly trying to sneak the weed through the airport is 57 year old Somphone Temmeraj.

The man in question had reportedly flown from Seattle, Washington to Nashville, Tennessee. It is not entirely clear if Temmeraj was staying in Nashville, or simply transferring to another flight.

But one way or another, officers in the airport saw Temmeraj load his three bags onto a cart. The only problem was that the bags apparently smelled very strongly of marijuana. So much so, in fact, that reports indicate that both police officers and their K-9 units smelled it.

When officers approached Temmeraj, the man voluntarily let the cops search his bags. Inside were what appeared a bunch of wrapped Christmas presents.

But inside the holiday wrapping paper, the “gifts” were actually vacuum-sealed bags of weed. In total, Temmeraj was trying to transport 84 pounds of cannabis.

After discovering what was inside the packages, authorities arrested Temmeraj. He was then booked into jail in Nashville, and by Tuesday morning he had posted bail to be released.

It is unclear what will happen next for Temmeraj. The AP reported that there is no official word yet if he has a lawyer. And for now, Temmeraj has not issued any public statements.

Smuggling Weed Requires Creativity

There is nothing new about people coming up with creative ways to disguise weed for the purposes of smuggling it. In fact, there are numerous instances of exactly that.

Interesting examples include a woman tried to smuggle weed and meth into a jail by hiding it inside a bible. After arriving for visiting hours, the woman asked if she could give the bible to an inmate. A routine check of the book by a prison guard immediately found the hidden weed and meth. Needless to say, this attempt did not succeed.

In a somewhat similar story, smugglers created packets of weed shaped like carrots. They then wrapped the packages with orange tape and hid them inside a shipping truck. The shipment of fake, weed-filled carrots was eventually discovered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at the Pharr International Bridge in Pharr, Texas.

And while weed smugglers often go the route of trying to disguise their herb, others focus on creative ways of transporting weed without detection.

For example, a couple years ago, somebody got caught trying to sneak weed into a prison with a drone.

Similarly, a smuggler in the Southwest tried to sneak weed between Mexico and Arizona by way of a zip line. The zip line was apparently high enough of the ground to clear border fences in the area.

The post Man Caught Traveling With 80 Pounds of Weed Disguised as Christmas Presents appeared first on High Times.

Teen Accused Of Using Remote-Controlled Car To Transport Meth Across US Border

Border Patrol agents in San Diego arrested a 16-year-old boy early Sunday morning and have accused him of using a remote-controlled car to smuggle more than 55 pounds of meth across the U.S.-Mexico border. The boy was found by agents hiding in the bushes near the international border with the car and 50 parcels of methamphetamine valued at about $106,000.

The boy was discovered approximately one mile north of the Otay Mesa border crossing in San Diego at about 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. Law enforcement officials believe that the unidentified teen was working with an accomplice on the south side of the U.S. border with Mexico.

Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco told reporters that it is believed that the unknown accomplice loaded the packages of drugs onto the remote-controlled car before slipping it through a four-to-five-inch gap in the border fence. The vehicle was then driven several times to the teen, who was hiding nearby.

The car “would have had to make multiple runs and go back and forth a few times,” Francisco said. “There is no way he would have been able to do it in one trip.”

Not the First Time

This isn’t the first time that smugglers transporting drugs across the international border near San Diego have resorted to using remote-controlled vehicles. In September, 2017, Jorge Edwin Rivera was convicted on drug charges for using an aerial drone to transport 13 pounds of meth across the border.

Rivera was taken into custody the month prior about two miles west of the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego after a Border Patrol agent heard the motors of the drone buzzing through the night sky. Upon investigation, agents discovered the drone hidden in the bushes. Rivera was discovered nearby with the meth, which was estimated to be worth $46,000 on the street.

Rivera told investigators that he had smuggled drugs across the border in the same manner successfully on five or six previous occasions. He also told investigators that after the drugs were flown across the border, he delivered them to a man at a nearby gas station.

Rivera pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to import methamphetamine and was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison last year.

The post Teen Accused Of Using Remote-Controlled Car To Transport Meth Across US Border appeared first on High Times.

Ex-Prisoner has Cannabis Removed From His Nose 18 Years After Smuggling Attempt

It’s one thing to forget where you hid something nearly 20 years ago. It’s quite another if it was hidden in your nose. But that is the improbable story of a 48-year-old former prisoner, whose tale of nasal smuggling was detailed in a case report published by the British Medical Journal.

According to the Daily Mail, which digested the report, doctors in Australia ran a CT scan on the ex-prisoner, who had apparently complained about headaches. The physicians suspected the cause was a rhinolith, which is defined by the authors of the case report as “calcareous concretions of the nasal cavity formed around a nidus that may be endogenous (eg, dislodged tooth) or an exogenous foreign body (eg, plastic bead inserted by a child).” 

The scan showed a sizable lesion in one of the nasal cavities, prompting the doctors to refer the patient to an ear, nose and throat department. While there, the patient described a history of nasal blockage and sinus infections. 

From there, the doctors discovered the cause of the pain, when they removed from his nose a “rubber capsule containing degenerate vegetable or plant matter.” After questioning the patient for details, the physicians learned that the “rubber capsule” was filled with cannabis. Here’s where it gets stranger: the man said he stuffed the contraband up his nose 18 years ago, while he was incarcerated.

Not an Ideal Place to Store Weed

“During a prison visit, the patient’s girlfriend supplied him with a small quantity of marijuana, inside a rubber balloon,” the doctors wrote, as quoted by the Daily Mail. “In order to evade detection, the patient inserted the package inside his right nostril. Despite effectively smuggling the package past the prison guards, the patient then accidentally pushed the package deeper into his nostril and mistakenly believed he had swallowed it. He remained unaware of the package’s presence until presented with the unusual histopathology report.” 

After undergoing surgery, the man said his symptoms were completely resolved within three months. The physicians involved in the case said it may well have been historic.

“To the best of our knowledge, our case represents the first report of a prison-acquired marijuana-based rhinolith,” they wrote, as most drug smuggling cases involve ingestion of the contraband. According to the authors of the case study, rhinoliths are estimated to be found in one in 10,000 otolaryngology patients, although that figure is “likely to be an underestimate due to the often asymptomatic nature of this condition.” 

The post Ex-Prisoner has Cannabis Removed From His Nose 18 Years After Smuggling Attempt appeared first on High Times.