Earlier this week, we showed you the major bust of 7 containers containing suspected drug precursors. The containers were being transported on the Bullet Tree Road in a blue truck, accompanied by a red pickup. Police are still awaiting the lab results for all seven containers and so today’s charges were minimal. Eight of the men caught were charged with a customs offense for one of the containers, they are Mr. Ricardo Garcia, Mr. Antonio Ovando, Mr. Elmer Williams, Mr. Victor Costanza, Mr. Oscar Castillo, Mr. Alexis Arana, Mr. Patrick Smith and Mr. David Hernandez. While only three – Mr. Garcia, Mr. Ovando and Mr. Williams were charged with possession of a controlled drug. Our affiliate Mr. Kent Pandy was on hand for the arraignment and spoke with their attorney for Mr Williams, Mr. Dickie Bradley.
Mr. Dickie Bradley- Attorney at Law
“Eight persons were charged for customs offence in relation to, well…on the charge heat, it is only for one barrel of hydrochloroxide so far, and three persons were also charged under the misuse of drugs (drugs act) that they had in their possessions which is hydrochloric acid which is a substance, only this year , added to the list of substances that citizens ought not to have, unless they have been given a permit by the government chemist, or someone in authority in relation to those matters. So, that, in effect, the prosecutor did apply to Magistrate Morgan for bail on the grounds that more time was needed to test the substance that was found in the barrel”.
Bradley stated the grounds on which he argued for bail in court today, affirming that the tests conducted on the chemical substances are inconclusive.
“I’m pointing out that this does not within the Crime Control Act. It is unfair to tell the court to lock people or deprive them of their freedom, that there is a need for further testing when no indication has been given to the court as for how long it will take to do that testing if in truth there is a need for further testing. In fact, the substance has been in government lab at least from Monday or when the police would make it available, and we have information that those tests are inconclusive as to what is the substance in the drums. There is a possibility that a further testing if undertaken, could show otherwise, but in fact, today, Wednesday 13th, there is no test to say that they have been in possession of anything. By virtue of a statutory instrument which is a law that a Minster signs in his office, nobody would know that there is a long list of substances, which have been added to the Drugs Act; I can show you here for your viewers, these are some, but the ones at the top this year there have only been added. I know that you don’t know and I don’t even know that they have added these matters to say that they are controlled. In other words, if you are mopping your floor and you are using one of these substances, suddenly now, it’s illegal…these are more…nobody in the country knows, you know? Just like how they high change the Firearm Act to say, if you have a flare gun to signal that you are in distress at sea, has become a prohibited equipment”.
It was suspected that the substance found is a precursor to make drugs, but Attorney Bradely contests that there is no evidence to support this claim.
“The bottom line is that the charges are that for one drum (50 gallons approximately) the substance was in there, which was hydrochloric acids. It’s not no cocaine, nor heroine or methamphetamine. There is no evidence in front of the court that you can in fact take those things and turn them into methamphetamine. So, in fairness, the magistrate granted them bail on very strict conditions. I can tell you that the magistrate, having heard the arguments from both sides, granted bail in the sum of $5,000, and they are to surrender their travel documents to the court, they are to report to the police station every week, they are not to be charged for any offence while on bail, and if any of those conditions are breached, they will go to prison. Of the three persons charged of having the drugs in contravention of the drugs law, one was not given bail until he can clear up with the court an outstanding debt in a large sum of money”.