On September 9th law enforcement officers discovered a single engine aircraft with over one thousand two hundred pounds of cocaine on board. Following the discovery, five men, including the Officer Commanding Orange Walk Police, were charged with abetment of the importation of a controlled drug; conspiracy to land a plane at an unlicensed airfield; and drug trafficking. Today, three of the five men charged received bail. Senior Superintendent of Police David Chi, Police Corporal Norman Anthony and Peter Friesen appeared before Justice Francis Cumberbatch. Norman Anthony appeared along with his attorney Leeroy Banner and David Chi along with Peter Friesen appeared with their Attorney Richard “Dickie” Bradley. Bradley gave the media an update on the case.
Richard Bradley, Defense Attorney: “In the case of Senior Superintendent of Police who was in charge of the Orange Walk police formation he was offered bail in the sum of $150,000 which is a very high sum in relation to granting bail to citizens of Belize – even foreigners are given less bail but the judge took into consideration that landing a plane, being involved in the matter of seven million US dollars worth of cocaine which is another word for demons is one that requires the community to take into account that the judiciary takes a very serious view of the matter. He even opined that in the event any of the persons involved were to be convicted that at the Supreme Court level which is where this matter will be tried at judge will take into account the quantum of bail and the circumstances involved. So there are two very important principles Belizeans need to bear in mind, your liberty is very important no matter what is the allegation against you, this is not a trial as to whether the accused persons are innocent or guilty or have been set against you. What this is just ‘I’m going to give you back your freedom but I want certain conditions to be met.’ Those conditions are you find persons who you have land title to support the high quantum of bail that was granted, you are not to interfere with witnesses, directly or indirectly in any form. You must report to the police station on regular basis every week, if you breach the condition of the bail you will sit in prison until the trial comes about.”
All of the three were granted bail in the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars or two to four sureties. Their case is adjourned to November 1st. The other two men charged are Mexican nationals, Eli Figueroa Nunez and Azariaz Silvero Manzano. In related news, Police confirmed that the testing for the samples from the bales extracted from the drug plane have all been confirmed as cocaine.