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COVID-19 brings early prison release for Grenadian Drug Mule in Britain

Chantel Fullerton – was incarcerated at Styal women's prison in Cheshire for the importation of drugs

A female Grenadian drug mule who was serving a 3-year jail sentence in Britain has been deported after her prison was hit by an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus disease.

The convicted woman, 28-year old Chantel Fullerton from St. Andrew, was arrested in August 2019 after a drug sniffer dog detected cocaine in her luggage as she arrived at Manchester Airport from Jamaica.

Authoritative sources told THE NEW TODAY that the British government decided to give Fullerton an early release after an outbreak of Covid-19 in the prison where she was serving her jail time.

One well-placed source said that Britain just wanted to get rid of her due to the virus and she was put on a flight Saturday that headed out to Barbados.

He said the Grenadian woman was eligible for early release from prison but the Home Office in London indicated that this would happen in December when it could get her on a flight.

He pointed out that the British government then agreed that if Fullerton could get a ticket then it would be prepared to allow her to leave the prison and go back to Grenada.

The source made a plea to the island’s government to be careful as the convicted drug mule is heading back to Grenada from a Covid-19 infested prison.

“I think she was required to have a test in the prison but I hope she’s quarantined and tested. I hope Grenada is being ultra-careful. Difficult times ahead,” he remarked.

When contacted, head of the Community Relations Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), Superintendent Vannie Curwen told THE NEW TODAY that he was not aware of the Fullerton situation.

However, sources told this newspaper that the British government will normally notify the Ministry of Foreign affairs and the Immigration Department of such deportation from prison in England.

Fullerton is linked to drug suspect Kyron Chitan, the murder accused in the shooting to death of Mc Donald College schoolgirl Kenosha Stafford at the start of the year.

The evidence presented during her trial in England is that she was paid £1,300 to smuggle more than £170,000-worth of cocaine into the UK.

Fullerton confessed that she agreed to act as a drug mule after losing her job as a carer in Grenada.

After a drug sniffer dog detected the white powder in her luggage, Immigration officers searched her suitcases and discovered four packages sewn into the corners – and three further packages in the base. The 2kg haul had a street value of £171,000.

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Fullerton denied knowing about the drugs, claiming she had travelled to the UK to attend the Nottinghill Carnival in London.

But investigators found a hand written note in her pocket saying a woman had paid her £1,386 and there was a further receipt of £1,200 for the flights.

British Prosecutor Lisa Boocock told the hearing: “The defendant was effectively a mule and two kilos of cocaine were found in total.

“The defendant is from Grenada, and she came to Manchester and came by Jamaica, then came to Manchester Airport. On August, 23, a drugs dog detected something in the luggage aisle.

“When the defendant collected her luggage, she was questioned by Immigration officers and she told them a story that she had been travelling to the country for the Nottinghill Carnival. Located in a pocket was a written note that a woman had paid her £1,386 in sterling. There was a further receipt of £1,200 for the flights.

“She was then presented with her suitcase which was subjected to a search, and officers discovered seven packages of cocaine. Four packages were concealed on the corners of the suitcase, and three were found in the base of the suitcase under the lining. They were of 74 per cent and 70pc purity.

“The commercial price of the total amount of cocaine was calculated as £66,000. The street price was calculated up to £171,000. She was arrested and interviewed, but denied the offence. She said she had no knowledge of the cocaine in the suitcase”.

In mitigation, defence lawyer Alexander Leech said: “There was some financial advantage. She had no influence on those above her in the chain. It was not her own operation. There was two kilos discovered, which equals a six year starting point in terms of imprisonment.

“She is away from her daughter and she is overwhelmed by the seriousness of the crime. She is trying to return to her. She is a woman of good character. She lost her career as a carer.

“She has lost contact with her six year old, who doesn’t know what to expect. She has occasional telephone contact, and her sister is currently caring for the child. This weighs upon her. She is aware she will be missing the key formative years of her daughter’s life whilst she is incarcerated in another country”.

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