A 34-year-old woman who allegedly attempted to export $1 million worth of cocaine in ketchup packages to the United States has been granted $350,000 bail.
Natalie Chambers, a conveyancing clerk of Mt Hope who was arrested last week, appeared before Port-of-Spain Magistrate Indar Jagroo during a virtual hearing yesterday.
Charged with two offences under the Customs Act, Chambers was not called upon to enter a plea. The charges stemmed from an alleged transaction on September 1 at DHL headquarters in San Juan.
It is alleged that Chambers tried to export the cocaine in four ketchup packages contained in a cardboard box to the United States. There were other packages with various items, including cakes, chocolate-coated peanuts, powdered seasoning and chocolate biscuits. The cocaine weighed 2.05 kilogrammes.
Chambers was arrested and charged by Customs and Excise officer Shamika Joseph. The charges included attempting to export cocaine and items packaged in a manner to deceive Customs and Excise officers.
Objecting to bail, senior state attorney with Customs and Excise Harricharan Kassie cited the prevalence of the offence as well as the type, quantum and value of the drugs. If bail were to be granted, however, Kassie asked that it be set at a substantial amount with conditions.
In his application for bail, Chambers’ attorney Keith Beckles submitted that his client was a first time offender and the mother of an 11-year-old child. The magistrate ordered bail with registrar approval and that Chambers report to the St Joseph Police Station on Mondays and Fridays between 6 am and 6 pm. The matter was adjourned to September 29.