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$1m bail for fisherman on cocaine charges

Monday, July 23, 2018

A Claxton Bay fisherman was granted bail in the sum of $1 million while a Venezuelan national and another Trinidadian were remanded into custody in connection with the recent $4 million cocaine bust at sea.

Fisherman Kendell Gibbs, 34, Alfonzo Dominguez Inglesia, 25, the boat captain, and Marcus Lezama, 22, a labourer, of South Oropouche, appeared before Port-of-Spain magistrate Adrian Stoute.

They were jointly charged with possession of 10.1 kilogrammes of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and importation of prohibited goods.

They were not asked to plead to the charges.

It is alleged that around 9.30 pm on July 12, two Coast Guard officers were on patrol in the Gulf of Paria off Chacachacare when they intercepted a pirogue which entered T&T waters from Venezuela.

They allegedly found nine packets of cocaine.

They were subsequently charged by WPC Roberts-Bailey of the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit (OCIU) and Customs and Excise Officer Lyndon Chaitoo.

The police estimated the street value at $4.04 million.

However, Lezama’s attorney Richard Clarke-Wills challenged the value of the drugs, claiming the sum was too exorbitant.

Even after Senior Supt Lloyd McAlpin of the Organised Crime Unit came to the court and explained how they arrived at that value, Clarke-Wills still objected.

Senior State attorney Harricharan Kassie, attached to the Customs and Excise Department, and court prosecutor Sgt Gonzales objected to bail for Lezama.

He said Lezama had two similar matters pending in court and would have allegedly committed these offences while on bail.

Kassie also noted the seriousness of the offences, the type and quantum of drugs. Gibbs’ attorney Tara Thompson said he had previous matters but they were dismissed.

Kassie did not object to bail for him but asked for a substantial sum.

He was granted $1 million bail with clerk of the peace approval.

Ingelsia’s attorney Andy Justin Leung did not make an application for bail because his client wanted to “adopt a certain course.”

Lezama was denied bail. The matter was adjourned to today for the police to show how they arrived at the value of the drugs.


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