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#360287 - 12/05/09 08:03 PM Las Vegas Casino boss & security still in Mexico
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Las Vegas Casino boss & security still detained in Mexico

Heading north, it was an anti-climatic moment for George Hardie Senior when he entered Mexico today hoping to return with his son and employee. Hardie, owner of the Las Vegas Casino, was expecting George Junior and Security Guard David Abner Gomez, to be released after spending almost a year and a half in a Mexican prison. The men were detained following a shooting at the Subteniente Lopez area when two Mexican nationals were behaving unruly at the Casino. But while Hardie Senior did speak to his son, he could not bring him home because the men are still being kept by immigration officials. Hardie Senior told News Five that he does not understand the delay.

George Hardie Sr., Owner/President, Las Vegas Hotel

“I went over to the court this morning at twelve noon and they were fully released from custody. They were taken to immigration and it’s just a question of when Mexican immigration will bring them over here. So far everybody has been cooperative and trying to help but there is a delay and I don’t know the reason for it.”

Delahnie Bain

“So they’ve told you nothing as to why it is taking so long?”

George Hardie Sr.

“Well there’s paperwork I guess and whatever amount of red tape. But they have been discharged from court system so they’re ready to come whenever immigration can get them over here.”

Delahnie Bain

“So you’ve spoken to them, how are they doing?”

George Hardie Sr.

“Well they’re okay, they’re just sort of impatient to come back home, so to speak and I also talked to the other two that were not released. They were on the appeal, but asked to be taken off because they thought they’d be transferred to Belize. I believe the Belize police report showed that they were just doing their job so they felt that the government would be active in trying to get them repatriated so to speak. But they were actually in tears today. They were glad for my son and David, but they were sad for themselves.”

Delahnie Bain

“So what’s next? You just wait?”

George Hardie Sr.

“Well, we wait. We have people over there trying to sort of prod them but there are a lot of people involved. I think in immigration there are three different bosses and the press is over there trying to make a story out of this and it just has to take its course I guess.”

Delahnie Bain

“And how are they dealing with knowing they’re free but are still being kept from home?”

George Hardie Sr.

“Well, it’s frustrating of course. They were so happy that this has finally come to an end. They believe and I believe that they never did anything wrong and yet they spent sixteen months in jail. So they wanna get back home and see their family and friends and they can’t wait actually. So let’s hope it’s soon.”

News Five contacted the Press Secretary at the Mexican Embassy, Marcelino Miranda, who said the men must await confirmation in writing from the judge in Chetumal, that there will be no further action against them before they are released.

http://www.channel5belize.com/archive_detail_story.php?story_id=26032
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#360596 - 12/08/09 05:48 AM George Hardie Jr. Free Again [Re: Short]
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George Hardie Jr. Free Again

Las Vegas Casino boss George Hardie Jr. and his security guard Abner David Gomez are free men. After a year and four months in jail, Hardie and Gomez returned to Belize free on Friday afternoon. As we’ve been reporting, on Tuesday a Mexico appeal judge quashed the conviction of Hardie and his Belizean security guard Abner David Gomez.

They had been originally charged along with two other security guards – Curlin Thompson and Martin Miller for attempted murder and possession of an illegal weapon for a shooting incident in July of last year at the Las Vegas Casino on Belizean territory. But the four were charged by Mexican police and were tried and convicted and sentenced to ten years. Curlin Thompson and Martin Miller chose not to appeal and asked to serve their prison sentences in Belize.

Miller we must note was only sentenced to 7 years in jail. The other three including Hardie were sentenced to 10 years in jail.

http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=15705
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#360710 - 12/09/09 05:00 AM Re: George Hardie Jr. Interview [Re: Short]
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Casino boss’ first interview since release from Mexican prison

George Hardie Junior of Las Vegas Casino is back in Belize and in his first interview since his release on Saturday night, he told News Five that he is leaving no stones unturned to secure the release of two employees that remain in jail. Hardie, along with David Abner Gomez, was finally freed after spending a year and four months behind bars and an additional four days in Immigration custody in Mexico. On December first, they successfully appealed an attempted murder conviction for which they were sentenced to ten years in prison. And just days after their return to the country, Hardie and Gomez were back at work at the Las Vegas Casino at the northern border, where a shootout that landed them in jail occurred. Hardie spoke to News Five via phone today and while he was glad to be home, his priority is to help Martin Miller and Curlin Thompson, who were detained along with them, to be released.

Via Phone: George Hardie Jr., Released from Mexican Prison

“It feels great but it would feel much better if we could get the other two guys out. I’m not gonna celebrate or have any parties until we get the other two guys out.”

Delahnie Bain

“What is it that made it take so long for them to release you after the appeal was won?”

Via Phone: George Hardie Jr.

“After the appeal was won? Well, we had to go to an Immigration jail because David and I are not Belizeans. So we had to go there for like five days; that’s required by Mexican law.”

Delahnie Bain

“What was the—I mean being in Mexican prison for over a year, what was that experience like for you?”

Via Phone: George Hardie Jr.

“Actually that prison, it’s not that bad. It’s not a maximum type security prison where you’re locked down. There's a lot of things to do; you can play basketball, soccer, they have a good gym, you can be out of your cell most of the day so it wasn’t that bad.”

Delahnie Bain

“When were you officially released to Belize?”

Via Phone: George Hardie Jr.

“Saturday night around midnight.”

Delahnie Bain

“And the other two guys, what are their plans now?”

Via Phone: George Hardie Jr.

“Well, they have a chance to appeal. Even though they didn’t appeal this time, they can appeal to a three judge panel called an Amparo. That takes about four to six months. The same defense that released me, they’re going to use that defense to the Amparo and I think they’ll be very successful with that. Or, if that doesn’t work, then they can go to a transfer to Belize, hopefully some time next year where they would be released because they didn’t do anything wrong.”

http://www.channel5belize.com/archive_detail_story.php?story_id=26059

George Hardie Jr. gives version of shooting incident

When it comes to what actually took place on July thirteenth 2008 between Hardie Junior, his security guards and the two Mexican nationals, there have been several versions of the story. Hardie told us what he knows of the incident and what he thinks of the conviction by the Mexican authorities.

Via Phone: George Hardie Jr.

“I was in my house, I heard shots being fired. I come outside, I see the vehicle with the Mexicans in it shooting at my employees. The window was down and you could kinda see like a hand out the window. I was kinda far away but that’s what it looked like. So the vehicle then left, some of our guards did return fire. The vehicle left for the Mexican border and then I said what happened. Everybody was reporting that the Mexicans were shooting at them. So at that time I needed to hold those Mexicans responsible for what they did. I mean they did a drive by at my business so we need to hold those people accountable for what they did.”

Delahnie Bain

“So why is it you think that this whole thing turned around on you all?”

George Hardie Jr.

“I’m not exactly sure why. The press showed up at the border, the Mexican military wanted to get credit for an arrest. We were charged for a crime in Mexico; charged in Mexico for something that happened here at the casino in Belize. I mean that’s laughable. So I really don’t understand it but I don’t know you’d have to ask the Mexican authorities.”

http://www.channel5belize.com/archive_detail_story.php?story_id=26060
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