Drug smugglers may escape justice due to disputed police reportPOSTED: 12/9/10 11:44 PM
St. Maarten – The trial against two brothers and two accomplices allegedly involved in transporting 600 kilos of cocaine from St. Maarten to the Netherlands might come to nothing if the Public Prosecutor’s Office declares itself inadmissible in the case next week.
St. Maarten Prosecutor Mr. J.M. Mul said yesterday that his office doubts the accuracy of a police report in the file. “We subject police reports to the highest standards. They have to be correct. Police officers have taken the oath of office and when they write a report we must be able to take their word for it that what they state is correct.”
The irregularities with the police report were reason for the prosecutor’s office to immediately release three of the suspects. A fourth one had been released earlier.
Mul said that the prosecutor’s office needs some more time to investigate the disputed police report. By the beginning of next week this investigation should be completed. “The prosecutor’s office could decide to declare itself inadmissible,” Mul said.
Judge Mr. M. Keppels set as next Tuesday afternoon as the new date for the trial.
The defendants in the case are Rodolfo A., 36, and his brother Hector Miguel A., 31, both born in the Dominican Republic, Michel Jean E., 35, from French St. Maarten, and Elmer Nicandro Vigilio M., 37, from Curacao. The case is linked to the Bens-case in Curacao, where more people have been arrested, and possibly also to a son of former senator Erno Labega who is in custody in the Netherlands since the beginning of this year.
The gang organized cocaine transports between St. Maarten and the Netherlands between January and May of this year until December 7. Between them, the four gang members are held responsible for transporting 623 kilos of cocaine. The illegal merchandise has an estimated street value of close to $4.5 million in St. Maarten based on a rule of thumb used by the St. Maarten Public Prosecutor’s Office that sets this value at $7.000 per kilo. But in Europe the value of the drugs is anywhere between $32 and 93.4 million.