Mexican drug smuggler compelled by cartel, defence says

A jail sentence of four years is being recommended for Mexican national arrested for smuggling drugs into Canada along the Osoyoos border.

A Mexican national, arrested along the Osoyoos border, said he was compelled into smuggling drugs by a cartel.

Alexis Joel Garcia Palomino, 24, pleaded guilty to two counts of importing/exporting a controlled substance and one count of failing to present himself at the customs office. Palomino, who was arrested at the Osoyoos border on March 17, appeared at the Penticton Provincial Courthouse on Monday, Aug. 29 via video and received the assistance of a Spanish translator over the phone.

Crown counsel Ginger Holmes suggested a jail sentence of four years during Palomino’s court appearance. Defence counsel Robert Maxwell submitted a letter to Crown as well as Mexico’s Canadian embassy outlining that Palomino was compelled by cartels to smuggle the drugs into Canada.

Maxwell said outside the courtroom that this possibly factored in to the Crown’s sentencing position, with smuggling charges usually landing somewhere between six to eight years jail time.

A pre-sentence report was ordered and Palomino returns to court Oct. 26.