STEPHEN ‘Die’ Stubbs has spent the first night of four years behind bars after he and two other men who took part in a $6 million drug smuggling operation were convicted and sentenced.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethell’s ruling took an hour to be read on the record yesterday before Stubbs, 37, of Ridgeland Park, Selva Rudolph Hudson, 57, of Sisal Avenue and Dion Minnis, 38, of Rupert Dean Lean were convicted.
They were accused of conspiring with 51-year-old David Arlington Colebrooke between September 5 and 30, 2009, to import and possess dangerous drugs in Williams Town, Exuma, with intent to supply.
Evidence revealed the 3,935 pounds of marijuana came from Jamaica and was dropped off in Williams Town.
Colebrooke, who was out on bail but is now on the run, had taken a boat into Nassau where police were waiting to arrest him, having used wire tap methods to catch him in the act.
Colebrooke was allegedly to meet up with Minnis and Stubbs.
Hudson was arrested in the area of the drugs after police found a GPS (global positioning system), which allegedly had been left in a car by Colebrooke after he got off the boat.
The police examined the tracking system that led them to the drugs — $5,902,000 worth of marijuana.
Stubbs, Hudson and Minnis had denied guilt and testified that they had no involvement in any drug smuggling operation.
However, the magistrate told both Stubbs and Minnis that based on the evidence of the prosecution, which she accepted, she believed them to be major players in the operation.
Sentencing the three men took more than double the time it had taken for the ruling to be read, due to a number of breaks to confirm Stubbs’ antecedent record concerning a previous conviction for drug possession in 1998.
Stubbs was sentenced first by Deputy Chief Bethell, who told him that he would spend four years at Her Majesty’s Prison for conspiracy to import and possess dangerous drugs with intent to supply.
Stubbs was also ordered to pay the Crown a fine of $50,000 with a condition that failure to pay within his sentence would result in an extra year in jail.
Minnis was given the maximum five years imprisonment for the two charges of conspiracy while Hudson was given a prison term of 36 months.
Defending attorneys Murrio Ducille and Ian Cargill indicated their intention to appeal both the conviction and sentencing.
Mr Ducille said it would happen ‘as night follows day.’
The highly anticipated ruling came for a 2009 case that had been before the courts for nearly three years.
It had seen many delays concerning the ruling due to late receipts of transcripts, a ‘stay’ on the ruling itself by a Supreme Court judge and two defendants being absent from court within the timeframe. However, there was none of that yesterday.
The magistrate gave a brief overview of the evidence in the trial, where it was revealed that DEU officers, on September 13, 2009, was given authority by then Commissioner of Police Reginald Ferguson to use listening devices on three cell phone numbers, one of them belonging to ‘Die’ Stubbs.This was the evidence of two Intelligence Unit officers who testified that they were able to identify Stubbs’ voice having known him for nine years.
Having monitored calls for 17 days, along with surveillance on the defendants at Arawak Cay on September 27, and Blue Water Cay off Yamacraw two days later, DEU arrested the accused men on September 30, 2009. Deputy Chief Magistrate Bethell accepted the evidence of the prosecution.
During the mitigation plea, Murrio Ducille asked that his client, Stubbs, be treated fairly and that the magistrate take into account that his client has not been convicted of a crime relative to the charges in 14 years.
Attorney Dion Smith, representing Minnis, asked for the court’s leniency because his client had avoided convictions since 2006.
Ian Cargill, representing Hudson, told the court his client’s last conviction was in 1985 and asked for the court’s leniency.
Deputy Chief Bethell told the defendants her punishment was based on three factors: The antecedent record; the amount of drugs involved, and the men’s participation in the smuggling operation based on the evidence.
She sentenced Stubbs to four years in jail with a $50,000 fine and condition of an extra year if the fine was not paid by the end of his sentence.
Minnis and Hudson were given five years and three years respectively.