Colombian Woman Jailed For Money Charge

December 31, 2014

Appearing in Magistrates Court this morning [Dec 31], a 29-year-old Colombian national who resides in Florida was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison for possessing cash whilst knowing it to be the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Eliana Medina reappeared in Plea Court this morning and Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Cindy Clarke told Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo that the charge against Ms Medina was no longer set as an indictable charge and could now be proceeded with in Magistrate’s Court.

The charge was re-put to Ms Medina, who then plead guilty to possessing $9,387 cash whilst knowing it to be the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Ms Clarke told the Magistrate that Ms Medina had initially been subjected to a secondary search by US Customs personnel at LF Wade Airport on 17th December as she was clearing US border controls prior to departing. The search discovered cash in excess of the $2,000 that she had declared on the US Customs form.

Bermuda police were called in and Ms Medina was searched more completely and found the cash had been concealed in her carry-on luggage, about her body, and in her ankle boots.

Ms Medina’s lawyer said that she had already been in police custody for two weeks, had no prior convictions in Bermuda, and had missed Christmas with her five year old daughter.

Crying and speaking through an interpreter, Ms Medina tearfully asked to be set free so that she could see her daughter and said that she would never do this again.

Magistrate Tokunbo said that after taking all submissions into consideration, he was reminded of the need to punish for crime and to deter others.

The Magistrate then sentenced Ms Medina to two and a half months [ten weeks] in prison; with time already served to be taken into consideration. On hearing her sentence, Ms Medina could be seen crying more profusely.

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Comments (34)

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  1. 10 weeks? No wonder people continue to abuse our Laws :-(

  2. Terry says:

    Get the ******* that she did it for.
    Or are the ……too scared.

  3. Sky Pilot says:

    the Courts are too soft in Bermuda for anything to have an effect on people.

    • MAKE MY DAY says:

      *****BINGO*****….. That will ALWAYS be the case!!!!

  4. Billy says:

    What you bring in to be leaving with almost 10k girl : )

  5. Cromwell says:

    Would that be your laws or US laws. Was it BDA$ or US$? A 29 Year old woman with a child and you want her in jail for having cash! Is it because she is Hispanic from Colombia? Racial profile maybe.

    • Self says:

      Take race out of it and use your brains for a moment. She arrived in Bermuda a few days earlier as a visitor. She attempted to leave Bermuda with almost 10G. How do you think she earned that money? Should she have been left alone because she is young, Columbian and has a child? You tell me.

      • Kangoocar says:

        @Self, I learned many years ago, it is a complete waste of time, if you spend it trying to reason with a racist!!!!

      • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

        shes not too bright for not declaring it…but is it YOUR business if she has a SugarDaddy…i’m jus sayin’ also i agree with racial profiling though for sure.

      • Due Process says:

        Was she asked how much money she had on arrival into Bermuda ?

        Where was it proven that she received this money from the proceeds of crime ?

        Was she offered any sort of legal representation aside from an interpreter who may or may not have had an understanding of the legal system ?

        What if she had a sugar daddy who gave her the money as a Christmas gift? Would you still consider her guilty ?

        I don’t know if she was guilty or innocent, but it seems like she was certainly railroaded and denied due process.

        • Whistling Frog says:

          If she would have declared all of what she had on her then she would have not found herself in this predicament. Why did she also had cash concealed in her carry-on luggage, about her body, and in her ankle boots but only declared $2,000.00 out of the $9,387 cash she had.
          She even plead guilty to the charges put before her.

          • Not Guilty says:

            That my friend is the point.

            Did she have adequate legal representation ? Which is a bedrock of our democratic system of justice. She is innocent until proven guilty. She could have put money in every nook and cranny on her person and her bag. That is not illegal.

            She could have been overwhelmed and confused with all before her and just wanted to get home as soon as possible. Where was the Duty Councel this day ? Did the interpreter have any legal knowledge or training?

            Bottom line is -:

            SHE DID NOT BREAK ANY LAW.

            • Jus' Wonderin' says:

              Well guess you must be stupid then. She didn’t declare all the money, and if she did SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE CLEAR….therefore SHE BROKE THE LAW.

            • serengeti says:

              She DID break a law. Dumb***.

      • Not Guilty says:

        Maybe she has a rich Bermudian boyfriend who wanted to give her a nice Christmas present.

        What would be your position then ?

        Everything else you said is irrelevent …

  6. Terry says:

    Not afraid to comment re this.

    You would be surprised the hundreds of Bermudians that live in Cost Rica that are involved in drugs.
    Shalom.

  7. Vanessa says:

    There are lots of things people get away in bermuda. Illegal drugs still circulate and so illegal workers. Blame it to those who do not do their job correctly.

  8. Bermy says:

    Why she plead guilty ? You can have up to $10,000 to enter the US without declaring it. She is not a resident of Bermuda and subject to the laws of Bermuda in that we can only have but so much US dollars in our possession. Thus she can have as much US dollars as she wants. It is up to the legal system to prove that she has done something nefarious. but having that money in and of itself is not illegal. A first yearlawyer could have gotten her of this charge.

  9. Innocent Until Proven Guilty says:

    Why did she plead guilty ?

    You can have up to $10,000 to enter the US without declaring it.

    She is not a resident of Bermuda and subject to the laws of Bermuda in that residents are only allowed to have but so much US dollars in our possession.

    Thus she can have as much US dollars as she wants

    It is up to the legal system to prove that she has done something nefarious to be in possession of this money, but having that money in and of itself is not illegal and she has broken no laws.

    The Duty Lawyer that was in court should have been able to offer her some assistance in this matter. A first year law student could have beaten this. So its going to cost us the tax payer $20,000 to keep her in prison.

    I am not advocating that she is guilty or innocent of criminal charges, but based on what is reported here , it seems as if she was denied due representation which is a staple of our legal system’s due process.

  10. Richard lema says:

    Bermudian have been doing this years and then when these foreigns are caught people and the courts chastise them on how dear they come to our country and bring drugs here like they woke up one morning and said “Hey you know what I think I going to buy a ticket to the Island of Bermuda and take some drug and SEE IF I CAN FIND SOMEONE TO SELL IT TO” What about the Bermuda connection the one who is recruiting these people Mostly from hard luck areas of what every country they are from there for any temptation to make more money they will take it (this dose not make their choice right) but as we know Bermudian THE most lovable people in the world so why should one of us going down for getting some one to do our dirty work. We blame everyone and their Grandmother for bringing crime to our shore but US.

  11. sebring says:

    as per the article the only law she broke from my understanding was that of the us customs for not saying the amount she carried !she could have said up to ten thousand and be fine the problem here was only saying a lesser amount how ever from the information giving she broke no local laws and should be set free at once! the us can not charge her either as she did not enter the us airspace or landmass! the stupidity of her lawyer I think ! and of the judge for putting this burden on us the local tax payer!!!Under what charge is she being held locally? if she worked on the island illegally then the news report should have included it! the punishment for this none crime is costing the Bermuda tax payer more than the amount of undeclared cash she was said to be traveling with and unless Bermuda government can prove she did not arrive with that money their is no case !if she was paid to bring in something then that should have been included in the article and more arrest should have been made so long evidence is key or again no case to answer sooner or later one of these people will sue our Government and again we the tax payer will foot the bill.

  12. chipp says:

    If u were a local they give u 2 to 5 years but foreigners that the oba let in slap on the risk

    • Creamy says:

      If it was a local you’d be posting “legalise de weed”.

  13. Griz says:

    I was about to say the same thing..the form says up to US$10,000 so what law did she break?

    • Creamy says:

      It doesn’t matter what the amount is if you know it to be the proceeds of crime.

      • Not Guilty says:

        If she pleaded Not Guilty, the onus will be on the Crown to prove it.

        Any lawyer would have gotten her off this charge.

        A person in a foreign court system is going to say anything to get as out as soon as possible. She doesnt speak the language, she is scared and wants to go home. for what it is going to cost the taxpayer to keep her here, you need to ask yourself, is it really worth it because nothing in the story shows she done anything illegal.

        She seems to have been railroaded into making this guilty confession.

        • serengeti says:

          So in your world a guilty person pleads not guilty, in the hope that a slick lawyer “gets her off”.

        • MAKE MY DAY says:

          She broke-the-law and LIED to US Customs!! BINGO!!!

  14. Cinámin says:

    I love you & miss you elaina! I’m glad I met you