After four years in denial, Renee Keith Gilkes today admitted to several drug offences stemming from the discovery of almost $40,000 worth of marijuana and cannabis plants.
And a Bridgetown magistrate has ordered a pre-sentencing report on the 38-year-old man to help determine what his punishment should be.
The 2nd Avenue Beckles Hill, St Michael resident had been charged with the August 31, 2013 offences of possession, possession with intent to supply, possession of a trafficable quantity and cultivation of cannabis.
According to the facts, a search warrant was executed at his residence early on the mentioned date and while police were searching the kitchen, two separate loose quantities of the illicit drug were found in some cabinets.
The search was then extended to the yard where 97 cannabis plants were discovered under cultivation. The plants weighed 8.36 kilos and had an estimated $38,000 street value, while the drugs found in the kitchen weighed 208 grammes and had a street value of $1,040.
Addressing Magistrate Douglas Frederick after changing his not guilty plea to guilty, four years after he was charged, Gilkes admitted that “it was a stupid choice to make”.
He went on to explain that he was trying to make some money at the time as he was not working.
The magistrate pointed out to Gilkes that he had gone through a lot of “work and trouble”.
“That’s a huge investment – fertilizer, plant pots, everything you have here. If you had put that investment into traditional agriculture you would have made money and not gotten into trouble with the law. $39,040 in drugs? What were you thinking?” the magistrate asked the man, who was not known to the law courts.
“I did it because I heard about it,” was Gilkes’ response, even as he asked for some leniency. “I am throwing myself that the mercy of the court . . . not to lock me up and grant me a fine or probation.”
The magistrate responded: “You pleaded guilty at the last minute because you realize that the evidence against you was strong, but you are not known. You tried something that was illegal and watch where it got you.”
Gilkes, who was granted $10,000 bail when he first appeared in September 2013, remains on bail pending sentence.
He returns to court on July 25.