British Business Man Arrested for 1.5 Tonnes of Hash Found in His Temporary Spanish Rental!
This is the ultimate cautionary tale for business travellers! What a horrible (and ongoing) nightmare.
British native, Robert Mansfield-Hewitt (51) was arrested in June after a police raid discovered £5 million (around $8.5 million CAD) of hash in the garage of an apartment he had rented in Campamento, Spain.
Robert Mansfield-Hewitt is an engineer from Chichester, West Sussex in England. He was in Campamento on business and had booked the AirBnB property specifically for this business trip, where he was arrested.
The businessman is currently being held in the medical wing of Botafuegos prison in Algeciras. Following his arrest, Mansfield-Hewitt collapsed and was immediately rushed for medical treatment in intensive care. He reported suffers from liver disease. A friend of his said, in an anonymous statement, ‘He’s a very ill person and had already been hospitalized four times this year. He has irreversible liver disease and is on a lot of medication. It’s crazy he is accused of this.’
Mansfield-Hewitt has a doctorate in physics and no criminal record or history of black market drug productions. The owner of the apartment, however, DOES have prior drug convictions. The unwitting renter plays the organ for his local church and is well known in his community. This really looks to be a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Mansfield-Hewitt had only been in the property for two days when the June 27 raid took place. If he was responsible for the 1.5 tonnes of hash in the garage, than he secured it surprisingly quickly! Seven officers went into the property, fully armed. They found 48 packages of hash, each weighing a hefty 33 kilograms. Neighbours have mentioned that Mansfield-Hewitt was brought out alongside a Spanish man of unknown identity.
Mansfield-Hewitt is being accused of involvement with the massive amounts of cannabis in the garage. However, he fully denies all accusations and friends describe his involvement as being ‘out of character’ and highly unlikely. His disease made him exceptionally weak and vulnerable, unable to physically handle extreme stress, as witnessed by his hospitalization post-arrest.
The owner of the property is a man from Morocco, aged 62, and legal restrictions do not permit release of name of the man. However, it is known that he has had drug convictions in the past. Despite this, authorities have yet to inquire with him or bring him in for investigation. He remains in his home in Gibraltar – 4 miles from the place of arrest.
It was originally reported that the property was rented via Airbnb, but this has since been corrected and the property removed from the rental site.
Authorities have still not pressed formal charges against Mansfield-Hewitt, who will be forced to remain incarcerated until that time. If convicted, he will face up to 6 years in the Spanish prison. No evidence has been found to link Mansfield-Hewitt to the 1.5 tonnes of cannabis in the garage. Given the facts, it’s unlikely he had anything to do with it but unfortunately, rightly or wrongly, the courts will decide in time.
Chichester MP, Gillian Keegan, stepped up in early September to try to assist with the release of Mr. Mansfield-Hewitt. The Olive Press reports that nothing has been heard from the incarcerated/hospitalized man since August 18th.
Cannabis Laws in Spain
Cannabis isn’t legal in Spain, but it is decriminalized. As such, it faces the usual unreasonable restrictions, like legal consumption and illegal sale. So while he would have been able to smoke a small amount, being found with that much cannabis points to intent to sell. Cannabis use is fairly common across the country and small amounts for personal use are generally accepted. Unluckily for Mansfield-Hewitt, it was the huge mass of processed plant (hash) that was found in the garage that puts him at risk of criminal conviction.
Mansfield-Hewitt is not the first person to be wrongfully arrested on weak or nonexistent evidence, and certainly not the first for being in possession of a harmless plant. Hopefully this ordeal can be brought to a swift close.