Ageing drug smuggler sentenced to 18 months

1511
Sint Maarten Courthouse

 

GREAT BAY – The Court in First Instance sentenced 59-year old Francesco Leonardo Angelino Wasker yesterday to 18 months of imprisonment for smuggling around one kilo of cocaine into St. Maarten from his native Curacao on January 22.  The prosecution had demanded a 3-year prison term.

Wasker was caught at the airport with the cocaine stuck around his waist. He told the court that he would have received $1,200 for a successful transport.

“My wife is diabetic; I have to take care of her and it is difficult to find work in Curacao, the defendant said.

The court found however that Wasker has a criminal record that looks like a novel. It contains convictions for drugs and theft related crimes, mostly in the Netherlands.

Confronted with the fact that he had swallowed bolitas in the past, the defendant said, “I am too old for that now.”

The public prosecutor considered the charges proven, noting that Wasker was sentenced eleven times since 1983. He demanded 3 years of imprisonment.

Attorney Geert Hatzmann described that demand as draconic. ‘This is actually a very nice and police man. I am a tax payer too and locking him up for three years is going to cost us a fortune. He served already two months. I suggest a large conditional sentence and tomorrow on a plane back to Curacao. We have to be humane; fortunately we are not in Texas here.”

While the defendant asked the court for a ban on travel from Curacao to St. Maarten, the judge described him as an experienced drug smuggler. “Punishments are not going to help. The prosecutor says that it does but that does not improve anything either. But this is also about sending a message to the community about drugs smuggling.”

Therefore, the judge settled for an 18-month prison term.