The nine men who were charged with drug trafficking following the narco-plane landing on January 29 are now out on bail. A bail hearing took place virtually on Friday before Justice Antoinette Moore. With the Crown Counsel Romy Wade not objecting to the bail application by attorneys Dickie Bradley and Leeroy Banner the men were each granted a twenty-thousand-dollar bail. Conditions of the bail forced the men to surrender their travel documents, and restricts them from leaving the country without the court’s permission. The men are also expected to check in at the respective police stations each week until the matter has been concluded. The men, namely, Tyrell Talbert, Byron Claire, Steve Rowland, Garrett Banner, Fitzgerald Claire, Marlon Reyes, Edward Reneau and Dwight McFadzean were charged jointly for possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply. They were also charged for breaching curfew. The men had pleaded not guilty at their arraignment on February 1 in the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court. They had appeared before Senior Magistrate Merlene Moody, and are to reappear in court on April 6. As for the 26 bales of cocaine found in the January 29 operations, those went up in smoke on Friday. The drugs were transported from Belize City to the designated site for destruction, and were thrown into a bonfire. Prior to being destroyed each packet of drugs was tested using drops of the Scott’s Reagent Modified. The drops would then cause the drug to turn blue if the product was genuinely cocaine. Overseeing the entire destruction was the Commander of Operations Assistant Commissioner of Police Marco Vidal. Vidal, in speaking with the media, explained that there was an urgency to destroy the drugs.
Marco Vidal, Assistant Commissioner of Police: “Whenever the drugs are found you have Scenes of Crime go on the scene and they gather the evidence. In addition to that the drugs are photographed and everything and that is taken before the court and then you guys are here to witness that it is the drugs that are being destroyed and the evidence that the Scenes of Crime take goes before the court to convict these people. As you’re aware where the drugs were found is very close to the border where we have this major problem with drugs and further to that the earlier we can get the drugs, the order for the drugs to be destroyed it is destroyed.. Everything is being followed by a process like for example we went to the court this morning, get the order and immediately we launched the rem oval from the place where it was custodied and then brought here and we destroy it.”
As we have noted, among those arrested in this case, are two Police officers. Vidal told the media that the top brass of the Police are aware that there are some criminal elements within the force, and that they will remain quick to take action against anyone found breaking the laws.
Marco Vidal, Assistant Commissioner of Police: “That’s why the Commissioner had said that it is deplorable, it saddens the department but we know that this exists. This exists in all security agencies so our job is to gather the intelligence and get them in the act because anything other than that they will say it is just speculation. You have genuine police officers then you have those who are engaged in these kinds of activities so for the police to go after these persons it’s applauded because we need to go after these persons. As I mentioned earlier there are others we just need to be exposed and then captured.”
Also witnessing Friday’s drug destruction were a Senior Magistrate, a Justice of the Peace, and members of the media. By one o’clock in the afternoon all 26 bales had been destroyed.