Cops Can’t Find Evidence to Charge 13 For Trafficking Thousand Lbs. Coke
And while those men have been remanded for murdering a cop - the case is not so clear cut for the 13 persons detained in connection with 479 kilos of cocaine which police busted last week.
Police caught 12 Guatemalans and a Belizean - and a bunch of guns, but could not find enough evidence to link them to the 479 kilos of cocaine.
Deputy Compol Williams explained today:...
Chester Williams- Deputy ComPol
"We have not been able to tie any of the detainees to the drug discovery. Yes, some were charged with keeping unlicensed firearm and ammunition and that was shared to you all over the weekend. And those against whom we had no evidence, the foreigners were issued with OTL and some were charged with immigration offences and they went to court this morning."
"In terms of the owner of the Prado..."
"That investigation is still ongoing."
"Sir, is it a matter of frustration for the department that you all know intuitively, instinctively and factually that these persons were involved in a conspiracy to transship drugs through Belize but because of the nature of constructive evidence, that you must have, you are unable to bring charges."
"We cannot take people to court based on our intuition. We are a country of laws and the rule of law is paramount and so if the evidence is not there to link anybody to whatever crime we believe they may have committed then the legal and the appropriate thing to do is to release them from custody. I don't see any failure or any incompetence on the part of the police to have been able to, like you said, cross the T's and dot the I's. It is a matter that these people were not found in the immediate vicinity of these drugs and so that is how it works. I wouldn't want to say that they get away scotch free but if the drugs were theirs then they surely have lost a huge amount of their products."
"Should law enforcement have bided its time more patiently and waited until the suspects went, as they would have inevitably, to that location of the coastal highway where hundreds of kilos of cocaine were waiting for them."
"Well, Jules, again, in hindsight we can say whatever but we were not there. We don't know what prompted the officers to have acted at that particular moment."
Suspected Drug Running Guats Arraigned on Weapons Charges
As you heard, police can't prove that the Guatemalan nationals they detained were the persons trying to smuggle the cocaine that they confiscated last week.
So instead, they went with charges that they can prove. Today, they marched Mario Rodolfo Lopez Moreira, Gilberto Gomez Jimenez, Marco Vinicio Palencia, Berardo de los Angeles Franco Carias, and Sergio Wilfredo Morales Godoy to court for a slew of firearms charges.
Godoy and Carias were charged with 1 count of keeping an unlicensed firearm for a chrome 9 mm pistol, keeping unlicensed ammunition for 47 live rounds of 9mm bullets, keeping prohibited materials for a chrome extended magazine, keeping an unlicensed firearm for chrome and black 9mm pistol, keeping a prohibited firearm, for 0.40 mm pistol, keeping unlicensed ammunition for 39 live rounds of 9mm ammunition, keeping prohibited ammunition for 29 live rounds of 0.40 bullets, keeping a prohibited material for an extended magazine on the 9mm pistol, and keeping prohibited material for an extended magazine on the 0.40 pistol.
Jimenez, Palencia, and Moreira were charged with keeping an unlicensed firearm for a 9mm pistol, keeping a prohibited material for a 0.40 extended magazine, keeping a prohibited firearm for a camouflage and chrome 0.40 pistol, and keeping prohibited ammunition for 36 live rounds of 0.40 bullets.
All 5 men pleaded not guilty, but in the afternoon Carias and Moreira changed their pleas, accepting guilt. Their hope was that even with all those guns and bullets, the state would consider a fine, and not prison sentence. Also, they are hoping that the prosecution would drop the charges against other 3 defendants, which the prosecution has indicated that they are willing to do.
Their attorneys attempted to convince Magistrate Emmerson Banner to forego a prison sentence for the guilty plea, since recent firearms cases in the Supreme Court has allowed a precedence to be set, where the judge can use his or her discretion in this manner. The Magistrate has adjourned the case for a few days so that he can make a careful ruling.
All 5 men and 4 more have been charged and arraigned on immigration offenses. 7 have pleaded guilty to these offenses, and they have been given fines of a thousand dollars, and a removal order has been granted against them.