Grandma Jailed Over 30-Year-Old Drug Charge

A 74-year-old Hamilton grandmother who asked for a special waiver to enter the U.S. despite an old, apparently settled marijuana bust got a trip to a cell.

Homenella Cole had gone to the Lewiston-Queenston border to the U.S., on the advice of a lawyer, to ask for the waiver.

She was restricted from travel because of a previous charge in Canada, which was pardoned, said her daughter Charmaine Cole from her Hamilton home.

But an warrant issued on April 1, 1980 in New York City for possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute remained and, with no statute of limitations, Cole was arrested.

The warrant cites 12 pounds of marijuana found in Cole’s possession 29 years ago, said a border officer. Cole would have been in her mid-40s at the time.

“She said it was all resolved . . . she had no idea,” said Cole’s daughter Charmaine from her Hamilton home.

Fighting back tears, she said she hasn’t spoken with her mother since the arrest and has received little information from U.S. officials.

“They haven’t told me anything,’ Charmaine said, adding that she has no idea when her mom will be in court.

She is concerned about her mother, particularly since she takes blood pressure medication. Her mom’s Canadian lawyer has had brief contact with Cole, who said she is fine. However, the family will need to find a new lawyer with jurisdiction in New York City.

Hamilton police have no record of charges against Cole in Ontario in their electronic database going back more than 25 years.

Cole was blindsided with the arrest on her third scheduled visit to border security, said he daughter, adding that her mother is a kind, generous person known to many in her neighbourhood.

She has always opened her doors to local children, Charmaine said. Children Cole babysat through the years still come back to visit.

Kevin Corsaro, chief customs and border protection officer, Buffalo division said Cole was arrested and transferred into New York State Police custody, to be extradited New York City where she will face the charges.

When reached Wednesday, both the New York State Police and New York City Police said Cole was not in their custody. Police said Cole is believed to be in court custody.

Calls to the Queens District Attorney’s office, where the warrant was issued, were not returned.

– Article from Toronto Star.