A 31-year-old auto-painter accused of gang-related activity has been granted $90,000 bail.
Jean-Michel Staple, of Cane Farm Avenue, Trincity, was granted bail as he reappeared before Magistrate Jo-Anne Connor in the Arima Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Staple initially appeared together with two police officers, who are also accused of being affiliated with a gang from Jitman Drive, Five Rivers, Arouca, on Thursday, but was denied bail because his criminal record tracing was not available in time for his court appearance.
When he reappeared yesterday, Connor was informed he had a conviction for marijuana possession and a pending case for firearm possession. As part of the conditions of his bail, he was ordered to report to police once weekly.
Staple, who was represented by Criston J Williams, will reappear in court on April 3.
PC Angelo Cedeno, 40, from Jitman Drive, Five Rivers, Arouca, was charged for misbehaving in public office by trafficking cocaine and supplying ammunition to his neighbour Ken “Renaldo” Gomez.
He was also charged under Section 9 of the Anti-Gang Act for counselling and providing support to the gang operating in his community, which carries a sentence of 25 years imprisonment upon conviction. Cedeno is alleged to have committed the offences between 2017 and earlier this year.
PC Don Balgobin, 39, of KP Lands, Valencia, was not charged under the gang legislation but rather for accepting an undisclosed bribe from Gomez for forgoing a marijuana trafficking investigation between March and May, last year. Gomez and other alleged members of his gang have already appeared in court on gang charges.
Cedeno, Balgobin and Staple were among a group of police officers and civilians who were detained as part of a recent investigation by the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit (OCIU). Investigators had to obtain detention orders under the anti-gang legislation in order to keep the men in custody while investigations were ongoing.
The orders, which allowed the men to be held without being charged until today, were upheld by High Court Judge Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds, last week.
Guardian Media understands that some of the suspects, including a police officer related to former police commissioner Stephen Williams, were released after investigators received advice from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).