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Trio charged with preparation of a crime

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After possibly fleecing lots of money out of ATM machines in Belize, the trio were caught last week and had their court hearing today.  24-year-old, Peruvian, Luis Miguel Marroquin; 35-year-old, Chilean, Juan Alfonso Espinosa Saavedra and 36-year-old , Colombian, Edgar Jhovany Vargas Vaca were before Magistrate Patricia Arana where they were charged with preparation of a crime. The charge came as there is no evidence that the men had fully carried out their plan to utilize the ATM scanner to illegally withdraw monies from the ATM.  The three men were represented by Attorney Hurl Hamilton who requested that the case be heard summarily.  His request was denied and the matter will be tried on indictment. After today’s arraignment, Hamilton spoke with the media about the case.

Hurl M. Hamilton Attorney at Law: “All three of them have  been charged with preparation to commit a crime. You heard in court that we wanted the matter to be heard summarily. The learned Magistrate was of the view that the matter is to be heard on indictment and the DPP Office is of the view that the matter is to be heard on indictment. I was of the view that because the defendants have the authority to choose which forum, which jurisdiction it could have been heard summarily but it is on indictment and the Magistrate has refused bail. In my opinion the evidence is weak, preparation to commit a crime is not an offense. For it to be attempt it has to be more than preparation but there is an offense preparation to commit a crime but we are saying based on what we have from the fact sheets of the Police there is not even preparation.

Juan Alfonso Espinosa Saavedra has been charged with not one, but two counts of preparation of a crime.  Hamilton explained the rationale.

Hurl M. Hamilton Attorney at Law: “What happened is that one of my clients Juan Espinoza, the Chilean,  has been charged with two counts of preparation to commit a crime. The Police is alleging that one happened in Belize City and the other one is Dangriga so I believe and I don’t know, it all depends on the prosecution how they are going to hear those two matters but he is in two jurisdiction for now.

The three men were arrested by Dangriga police last week when the officers intercepted two Mexican cars and inside the vehicles, the officers found the three individuals with equipment used to steal credit card information via the ATM.  At today’s police press brief, ACP Joseph Myvett, Head of the National Crimes Investigation Branch, spoke about the incident.

ACP Joseph Myvette: “Banking Scam the three persons whom Police have detained since Thursday evening has now since been charged and will be arraigned today. They are Juan Espinoza 35 years Chilean businessman, Edgar Vargas 35 years Colombian electrician and Luis Robles Marroquin 24 years Peruvian. They have since been arrested and charged for the crime of preparation for a crime. As I said before they will appear in court later today. The Police Department has dealt with several of these cases in relation to different banks where experts were brought in to testify so that I do not believe that is going to be an issue. One of those persons have made several trips to the country before and the vehicles they were found in are not Belizean registered vehicles. In respect to the charges the evidence gathered is that there was consultation of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution before this charge was levied. As I had said over the last briefing this has been an ongoing investigation from since last year. At this point in time we do not know yet because it would be dependent on those victims who then go and the bank itself won’t know until victims check their account and say this is missing.

Dalila Ical: “So you can’t see at the site how many dollars was taken?

ACP Joseph Myvette: “No we don’t.”

ASP Alejandro Cowo:” This is the report made by Scotiabank Belama Branch which occurred on Wednesday where a scheming machine was removed from the ATM machine. On Saturday Police arrested and charged on Alfonso Espinoza, Chilean national, for the crime of Preparation Crime. Yes this is another incident relating to the one at the Belama branch.

Jose Sanchez: “Was this through videoing you were able to identify the suspect?”

Asp Alejandro Cowo: “That is part of our investigation.”

Reporter: “Sir and based on your investigation so far is it believed that this incident is connected to the other one.”

Asp Alejandro Cowo: “It is the same person.”

Jose Sanchez: “Sir are you checking other ATM Scotiabanks countrywide to see if any of the suspects may have tampered with any of the machines.”

Asp Alejandro Cowo: “Yes we were informed by the managers that they have already alerted all of their branches country wide.”

Jose Sanchez: “That conversation with the bank does this mean then that they will have to re-issue new cards to customers who may have been compromised.

Asp Alejandro Cowo: “Well that is an issue for the bank to deal with.

The trio was denied bail; however, Hamilton said that he will make a second attempt to get bail for the trio in the Supreme Court on Friday. The case has been adjourned to March 27.

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