Koror (Palau) (AFP) – DHL heir Larry Hillbroom Jr. was Wednesday sentenced to 10 years’ probation in Palau after pleading guilty to drug charges, and faces jail unless he completes a rehabilitation programme.
The probation period will be reduced to seven years if Hillbroom completes the programme. If he does not he will be jailed for five years.
Hillbroom, who had been charged with trafficking methamphetamine and faced a 25-50 year jail sentence, changed his plea to guily as the jury was being selected at the start of his trial in the Pacific island nation’s Supreme Court.
In sentencing Hillbroom, associate Justice Lourdes Materne also fined the multi-millionaire $50,000 and ordered him to undergo drug testing three days a week until he starts the rehabilitation programme in September.
“A missed test, failure to produce a sample or an adulterated sample, shall be treated as a positive drug test and result in the immediate incarceration of the defendant,” Materne said.
Hillbroom, who holds US and Palau passports, is a son of Larry Hillblom, co-founder of the shipping company, although their surnames are spelt differently.
He is one of four illegitimate children sired by Hillblom and successfully sued for a share of the billionaire businessman’s fortune after Hillblom died in a plane crash in 1995.
Hillbroom’s inheritance has been estimated at $100 million, although he said last year that financial mismanagement meant it was now much less.
Hillbroom, normally based in the United States, was visiting Palau in 2016 when he was arrested for allegedly arranging for two women to smuggle methamphetamine from the Philippine capital Manila to Palau.
He fled from custody after his arrest but was caught a night later when police plucked him from the sea as he tried to swim away.