Man Swallows Over 110 Grams of Hash in Attempt To Avoid Getting Busted in Bermuda

No local reports mention the epic high the man may have experienced during his ordeal and brush with the law.

A man swallowed over 110 grams of hash in a desperate attempt to avoid drug charges on the island of Bermuda in the Caribbean, but police simply waited for the hash to come out of the other end while he was taken to a nearby hospital for drug tests. Police counted a total of 53 “pellets” of hash that went entirely through his body. It’s a lesson learned that other vacationers should be aware of when planning a trip to any of the 181 islands of Bermuda.

The Royal Gazette reports that Kenneth Butterfield, 45, admitted importing the controlled drug into Bermuda when he appeared in Magistrates’ Court yesterday. The man originally faced charges of possession with intent to supply but that charge was dropped.

Butterfield said in court that he returned to the island from the U.K. on Feb. 16, 2023 and was arrested after refusing to be X-rayed by customs officials at L.F. Wade International Airport in Bermuda.

Butterfield was taken to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital to undergo a drug test to see if cannabis was in his system. While there, he passed 44 pellets and secreted an additional eight the next evening. They were found to be 110.76 grams of hash, called “cannabis resin” in the country.

Cindy Clarke, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the going street value of the hash was high, and it would sell for more than $11,000 on Bermuda’s streets if sold by the ounce, more than $22,000 by the gram and more than $12,000 by the quarter-ounce. (A Bermuda dollar is equivalent to a U.S. dollar.) 

Magistrate Maria Sofianos ordered that reports be completed for Butterfield, who has previous convictions for similar offenses, and adjourned the case to March 28, 2024 for the man’s sentencing.

Butterfield will be sentenced next month, and he was ordered to surrender all travel documents and was released on $25,000 bail with one surety until that time.

Another man was arrested bringing cannabis “resin” aka hash onto the island in 2022. 

Tahva Virgil, 28, appeared in court in May 2023 and denied bringing hash and another substance containing THC into the island in February 2022. Prosecutor Taneka King said the hash had an estimated value of between $42,000 and $56,000. Senior magistrate Maxanne Anderson adjourned the case to a later date and released Mr Virgil on $25,000 bail.

Amounts of cannabis over 7 grams in the country often lead to jail time.

“Even if a person is caught with 7 grams or less of cannabis, that person’s residence, vessel or vehicle may be subject to search, if the police suspect other offences, such as possession with an intent to supply, or other criminal offences,” Bermuda’s Public Awareness Fact Sheet states about cannabis-related convictions. “It is still illegal to use, sell (supply), handle, or import cannabis and a person may be prosecuted for such offences.”

“If a person is caught with more than 7 grams of cannabis, that person may be arrested and prosecuted, resulting in a criminal conviction,” it reads.

Since Butterfield’s case involves over 100 grams, the charges most likely multiply.

Bermuda’s Struggle to Legalize Pot 

The island has attempted to legalize adult-use cannabis, but recent attempts failed, partly due to the fact that the nation is a British territory.

In September 2022, the U.K. prevented Bermuda from following through with its 2022 cannabis legalization bill, thwarting legalization in the island country.

The Royal Gazette reported that on Sept. 6, 2022, Bermuda Governor and Commander-in-Chief Rena Lalgie was “instructed” by United Kingdom Foreign Secretary to refuse to give royal assent to the Cannabis Licensing Bill. “The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs concluded that the Bill, as currently drafted, is not consistent with obligations held by the UK and Bermuda under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. I have informed the Premier and relayed the UK’s continued desire to work with Bermuda on reforms within the scope of our existing international obligations,” Lalgie said.

Media reports that the denial of approval for Bermuda’s bill caused tension in relations between the U.K. and Bermuda.

In 1984, Paul McCartney and his wife Linda were busted in Bermuda after authorities found weed in a film canister, but he was fined just $100.

Last October, entrepreneurs Kim Caisey and Rickai Robinson launched the Bermuda Cannabis Association (BCA), the island’s first self-regulatory organization designed for the cannabis industry. They said the for-profit BCA’s mission is to foster a professional, responsible, and ethical cannabis industry in Bermuda.

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