A man caught with almost $10 million of heroin was convicted of drug importation yesterday.
Josef Vlcek, 49, of the Czech Republic, was found guilty at Supreme Court of importation of the drug and possession with intent to supply. He remained silent as the jury delivered a unanimous verdict after three hours of deliberation.
Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves remanded Vlcek in custody for sentence tomorrow morning.
The court heard earlier that Vlcek was arrested at LF Wade International Airport on September 23, 2017, after he arrived on a flight from London.
Customs officers searched his suitcase and spotted a bulge in the lining.
Officers found three packages hidden in Vicek’s two suitcases. The packages contained a total of 2.9 kilograms of heroin.
The court heard that the heroin had a street value in Bermuda of about $9.5 million, and that Vicek had told officials when the packages were found: “If it’s gold, it’s mine. If it’s drugs, it’s not mine.”
Vlcek said in a taped police interview shown to the jury that he had no idea how the packages got into his suitcases.
He claimed he bought the suitcases in an East London market before he flew to the island from the UK, and did not notice anything suspicious about them.
But Vlcek admitted in court he had lied about how he acquired the suitcases, and that they had been given to him.
He claimed, through a translator, that he had met two men while he was in London who offered to support his art career if he would bring packages of gold and diamonds from Johannesburg, South Africa to London.
Vlcek said he agreed and, after he returned, he was offered the flight to Bermuda as a “thank you” and was asked to bring the gold and diamonds to the island by someone who claimed to be a member of the Bermuda Government.
He added that he believed the valuables were hidden in the lining of the suitcase to prevent them from being stolen. Vlcek was remanded in custody after his arrest, and the lack of a translator was blamed for the delay before he came to trial.
In court appearances before his trial he complained about his dental health.
He shouted to Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons on one occasion: “Repair my teeth, black Saturn.”
Mrs Justice Simmons urged Susan Mulligan, Vlcek’s defence lawyer, to look into the issue of his dental care.
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