Curtain falls for huge cocaine-smuggling case

POSTED: 09/14/11 11:33 AM

Prosecutor’s Office will not appeal Snowflake-decision

GREAT BAY, St. Maarten – The Public Prosecutor’s Office will not appeal the August 24 court decision to declare the Snowflake case inadmissible, Chief Prosecutor Mr. Hans Mos said in a joint statement with the prosecutor’s office in Curacao. Suspects in related so called Benz-investigation will no longer be prosecuted either.
The Snowflake investigation is about cocaine-transport from Colombia to the Netherlands via St. Maarten. Suspects were charged with smuggling 623 kilos of cocaine; on May 5 of last year investigators confiscated 170 kilos in a house in Cole Bay.
A day before the suspects were to stand trial on May 25, one of the main suspects, Hector Miguel Arrindell, the 32-year-old owner of the Cappuccino Bar in Simpson Bay, was shot to death. On July 7 his 37-year-old brother Rodolfo, also a suspect in this case, was murdered in front of his home in Fort Willem.
After the Prosecutor’s Office in St. Maarten decided not to appeal, the Prosecutor’s Office in Curacao followed suit by dropping the prosecution against suspects in the related so called Benz-investigation.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Kingdom Detective Team (RST) discovered that an official police report in the Snowflake investigation was antedated. As soon as this was established and awaiting the consequences that the judge would draw from these findings, all suspects were released from pre-trial detention.
The suspects in the Benz-investigation were also released.
“Subsequently a criminal investigation was ordered against the detective involved. This investigation by the Special Investigation Unit concerning the detective involved has come to its conclusion. He will be prosecuted and will have to stand trial in the Court in First Instance in Curacao by the end of this month,” the press release states.
During the court hearing in the Snowflake case on December 14, 2010 the prosecutor demanded to have the cases declared inadmissible. The Judge asked the Prosecutor’s Office for more information about the antedated report. During the March 23 court session, the prosecutor gave that information.
“Although the criminal investigation by the Special Investigation Unit into the antedated report was not finished at that moment, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, based on its own preliminary investigation results, concluded that the antedating did not necessarily have to result in ceasing the prosecution,” the press release states.
The conclusion was based on the fact that the Prosecutor’s Office and the police themselves discovered the antedating and subsequently reported this.
“The interests of none of the suspects were violated by the antedating and no investigation was started nor were any investigative means used based on the contents of this (antedated) police report.”
On August 24 the judge followed the first judgment of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and declared the prosecution against all suspects inadmissible. The Judge has considered that the detective who drafted the antedated report played a crucial role in both the Snowflake investigation and the Benz investigation and that the Public Prosecutor’s Office was unable to give an absolute guarantee that other reports by this detective would not contain any fraudulent or incorrect information. The detective has been identified as Van de V.
Mos stated that the decision not to appeal is based on the consideration that “any further discussion will primarily focus on the police and the Prosecutor’s Office, whereas criminal cases, in the opinion of this office, should mainly focus on the suspects involved and the crimes they are prosecuted for.
“The general confidence in the justice system as a whole would not be served by launching an appeal.”

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