Police have levied an additional charge on the seven men who were arrested for the November 28 drug plane landing in the Mountain Pine Ridge, Cayo District. Aside from the initial charge of conspiracy to land a drug plane, the men have also been charged for abetment to import controlled drugs. The men were taken to the San Ignacio Magistrate’s court for arraignment this morning where they were read the second charge. Following the arraignment, the men were escorted back to the Belize Central Prison. Interestingly, our newsroom was notified by the attorneys that they were not informed on the additional charge nor were they told that the men would be taken out of the prison to be arraigned. Attorney Dickie Bradley explained that the Police went to a magistrate to get a removal warrant for the men to be taken to San Ignacio, but none of their attorneys were informed. He further added that the men are represented by attorneys and removing them from prison is against the rights of the prisoners and that the additional charge could have been levied at the bail hearing slated for Friday, December 10. The bail hearing is another point of concern that was brought up because while six of the men will have their bail hearing this Friday, Corporal Eric Young will stay an additional week in prison as his bail hearing is set for Friday, December 17.
Our newsroom understands that this is being handled this way as the Prosecutor for the six men is from the Office of the DPP while the Prosecutor for the police corporal is Alifa Elrington. Attorney Bradley’s contention is that the men are being charged jointly and therefore the matter should be prosecuted jointly. He further noted that the involvement of the DPP Office is not ideal in this particular case and that it should be revisited. The men arraigned today are Jesus Martinez Quintero, Jaime Maaz, Miguel Zetina, Edwin Gonzalez, Eric Young, Edilberto Medrano and Saulus Penner.