Son of reggae great Peter Tosh to take plea or be tried for 65½ Pounds of Pot Possession in Mahwah traffic stop
Jawara McIntosh, the youngest son of Reggae great Peter Tosh has funtil Monday (April 11) to accept a plea deal from prosecutors or go to trial for 65½ pounds of pot that Mahwah police found in the trunk of his car on Father’s Day Weekend 2013, Hype Life Magazine has learned.
Jawara McIntosh, 35, didn’t have a license — and had open bottles of booze on the front seat — when officers stopped his rental car for recklessly cutting off other motorists on Route 17.
He and his passenger, 24-year-old Carlotta Z. Leslie, “denied any knowledge that the marijuana was in the vehicle,” police said at the time.
Last week, Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Keith Travers said he offered the Dorchester, Mass. couple five years in state prison each, 12 months of which they must serve before being eligible for parole, if they plead guilty to first degree possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute it.
Superior Judge Edward A. Jerejian gave the defendants until Monday (April 11) to decide.
“This matter has been on a long time,” the judge said.
“It’s a first-degree charge, based on the weight of the drugs, but the case has been on for a long time and if we have to schedule motions and a trial, I’m prepared to do that.”
Leslie’s attorney asked the judge for an afternoon hearing because his client has children 3 and 5 years old and has to travel from Boston by train. Jerejian set it for 1:30 p.m.
“After that, the offer is no longer available and will be set down for trial,” he said.
McIntosh, also known as Tosh 1, has been free since posting a $200,000 cash bond in December 2013. Fourteen months ago, a judge in Hackensack granted him a one-week furlough so he could perform at a concert in Kingston, Jamaica as part of Reggae Month there.
“There are just too many medical reports and medical professionals who believe in the medicinal benefits of marijuana to ignore the big government push to limit access,” McIntosh told media reporters last year.
“The only ones who should fear it are the pharmaceutical companies whose medicines rarely work, or work with enormous side effects,” he said.
The officer who pulled over the 2013 Nissan Maxima said McIntosh appeared under the influence of some type of drug. McIntosh and Leslie also gave conflicting accounts of where they’d come from and where they were headed, he said.
The vehicle was searched, with McIntosh’s consent, after other officers arrived: They found two large pieces of luggage in the trunk that reeked of pot, Mahwah Police Chief James Batelli said at the time.
The officers found two bundles of marijuana inside one and a third in the other, Batelli said. One was shrink-wrapped, he said, and the other two were wrapped in duct tape.
Both were arrested on charges of marijuana possession with the intent to distribute the drug. McIntosh also was charged with two counts of driving under the influence of drugs, driving with a suspended license, improper passing and having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle.
Grammy winner Peter Tosh (Winston Hubert McIntosh) was a member of Bob Marley’s Wailers, arguably the most accomplished reggae band in musical history.
Although an international recording star, Tosh didn’t achieve fame in the U.S. until his 1978 duet with Mick Jagger on the Temptations song “Don’t Look Back.”
He fought publicly against apartheid and for the legalization of marijuana for much of his career.
Tosh’s estate is holding the first annual “International Peter Tosh Day” on April 20, 2015.