A mother facing extradition to the United States for allegedly exporting chemicals used to make illegal drugs today pleaded to be allowed to stay with her newborn son.
Kerry Anne Howes is currently awaiting a ruling from appeal court judges to decide her fate while caring for 16-week-old Kayden and five other children.
The 32-year-old and her husband, Brian, 47, are accused of exporting chemicals from Scotland to the US to make the outlawed drug crystal meth.
Lawyers for Mrs. Howes have argued that UK courts should not send her to face trial in Arizona, where they say prisons would not allow her to care for her baby inside the jail.
The couple were arrested in January 2007 by police on behalf of the US Drug Enforcement Agency and have been battling extradition ever since.
The couple ran a legal chemical business — Lab Chemicals International — until targeted by undercover agents posing as buyers after a tip-off by one American citizen.
They accused Brian and Kerry of selling iodine and red phosphorus in the knowledge they would be used to manufacture the highly addictive drug. The couple maintain they were simply selling chemicals to be used in amateur pyrotechnics.
Red phosphorous is perfectly legal in the UK but strictly regulated in the US.
He is on remand in Saughton prison while his wife, who remains on bail, cares for the youngsters at their Bo’ness home.
Mrs Howes told the Evening News: “The court hearing was in April and we were told the judgment would take four to six weeks, so it’s well overdue. If they send me to the US then Kayden would be taken from me and he would disappear into the care system over there.
“Brian’s family is scattered all the world and I’m estranged from my family. We’ve got friends who said they could look after the kids, but taking on six children is a lot to ask.
“Every morning I think this is going to be my last day with the children. Everything I do with them, it comes into my head that this could be the last time and I’ve been living like this for years now.”
Mrs. Howes is caring for girls Denni, 13, Bethany, 12, Ellie, eight, Leela, five, Cassidy, two, and first boy Kayden.
She added: “I just hope the judges will have some sympathy. We’re scared that there will be nobody to look after our kids.”
Speaking from Saughton, Mr. Howes said: “I’m more than happy to go to trial in the US if they will allow my wife to stay and raise our children. It’s unbelievable that a British citizen can be treated this way by the courts.
Arizona prisons won’t allow a baby to stay with its mother but our courts are considering sending my wife into that situation.”
Mr. Howes has been on hunger strike since being remanded in April and said he had also made three suicide attempts.
At a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in April 2008, Sheriff Isabella McColl approved moves to extradite the pair.
A month later, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill signed the extradition order.
The couple has continued to fight extradition to the US, where authorities want to try them on 82 charges in connection with the alleged supply of banned chemicals via the internet for the purpose of producing methamphetamine. Both deny any wrongdoing.
If convicted in the US, the couple faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail.
This article was written by Alan McEwen and published by scotsman.com on July 26, 2011.
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