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Cocaine courier released from prison

A retired Swiss engineer who smuggled five pounds of cocaine into the country last November will face no further punishment. Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes sentenced 67-year-old Rene Buffat to time-served for his role in the transnational drug trafficking scheme, paving the way for his release.

Drug squad officers busted Mr Buffat, of Zurich, Switzerland, after he arrived from Panama on a Copa Airlines flight on November 21, 2019. The officers found the drugs in a false bottom inside Mr Buffat’s duffle bag. He told the officers that he was supposed to take the cocaine, worth $50,000, to a man in London.

Mr Buffat initially denied charges of cocaine possession with intent to supply, cocaine importation and conspiracy to commit the offenses. He spent eight months in custody before changing his plea. Attorney Jairam Mangra argued that Mr Buffat had been sufficiently punished for his crimes. Magistrate Forbes ordered Mr Buffat deported to Switzerland.

Just yesterday, Magistrate Forbes sentenced a 73-year-old Spanish woman to just five months’ imprisonment for smuggling 12 pounds of cocaine into the country.

Esperanza Bonet-Roig received a slap on the wrist for a crime that spanned multiple jurisdictions.

Yet, the same magistrate jailed 18-year-old student Deon Duverny for three months for breaking the curfew.

The orphan spent a week in a prison before benefactors paid his $500, resulting in his release.

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