Ghanaian in USA gets 4 yrs for drugs
he had faced 10-year sentence for crime
CAMDEN, South Jersey, USA -- A citizen of Ghana who pleaded guilty to conspiring to import a kilogram of heroin on a ship that docked at a Camden port in February 2003 has been sentenced to 51 months in federal prison.
James Samuel Kittoe, 34, will be deported after he serves the sentence, said his attorney Frederick W. Klepp.
U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson sentenced Kittoe Friday to less than half of the mandatory minimum for drug crimes involving that quantity of drugs. She slashed the 10-year possible sentence after Klepp argued that Kittoe played a minor role in the drug importation scheme and had no prior criminal record.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Diana Carrig did not oppose the departure from sentencing guidelines but had asked for a term of 63 months. She said Kittoe, a deckhand on the ship Aeolian Sky, had been paid $4,000 for his courier role.
Carrig said that although Kittoe eventually admitted his role in delivering the drugs, he initially told investigators he thought the package he had hidden in a common area of the ship held only soap.
After Kittoe was arrested, U.S. Customs agents inspected the ship and found 23 stowaways on board. They were returned to Ghana.
Wolfson said it was ironic that those individuals were so anxious to get to the United States while Kittoe, who has a wife and two young children, only wants to return to his home country.