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.



  1. Anonymous on

    The lady, and therefore her attorney, were under the impression the matter had been resolved. Additionally, the article says there were no records of an active warrant in NYC with Ontario Police. Had the attorney known of this, he obviously wouldn’t have asked for a waiver on behalf of his client, or told her to go ask. You’re also forgetting that lawyers are often busy with other cases, and if anything, it would have been a breach of ethics to charge his client hundreds of dollars to go ask for something she could presumably ask for herself.

    This is a really shitty situation, but I don’t think it is fair to try to pass the blame for this onto her attorney.

  2. Anonymous on

    that is what we pay the government to do right? to put our butts in prison and take everything we have, what else?

  3. Lygeia on

    Maybe her lawyer should be disbarred.

    This woman ended up in jail in the United States based on the advice of her lawyer who told her to go to border and get a waiver. Why didn’t the lawyer obtain the waiver for his client and then accompany her to the border to make sure she wasn’t arrested?

    I think this was dereliction of duty by a lazy lawyer who neglected his fiduciary duty to his client to protect her interests.

  4. Zack James on

    That is so fucked up, can someone tell me when we can just over throw this fucked up government we have….bunch of newbs

  5. Dave on

    Do you think Harper and company will let her come back home? I suppose the colour of her skin will determine that!

  6. NuttBoxer on

    Will you people please stop letting our government run roughshod over your citizens!? It’s bad enough that they do it here, quit encouraging them to do it in other countries too!

  7. Anonymous on

    And the dog and pony show continues,the DEA got a 5% increase in funding to over 15 billion for 2010

  8. Anonymous on

    My Gosh, this is more proof how overreaching and bloated our justice system has become. Reason and common sense doesn’t exist….”just doin our job” they’d say.

    Imaging being the guy locking her in the cell, if that doesn’t show them how unfair all this is then nothing will.

  9. Anonymous on

    obviously when you jail a 74 yr old grandmother you have absolutely no shame. On 3 decade old warrant no less. Maybee these are the type of “dangerous criminals” we’d eliminate with c-15!