Gang members remain in jail until drugs trial in November

POSTED: 10/9/14 9:22 PM

Prosecution sees Papillon as organizer of drug transports

St. Maarten – Two out of six defendants in a cocaine-smuggling trial regained their freedom yesterday after Judge Rick Smid suspended their pretrial detention. Of four others, two remain behind bars in Pointe Blanche, one is “detained elsewhere” for his own safety” and the fourth one is for medical reasons in the Dominican Republic.

The prosecution has charged the defendants with involvement in drugs transports between Colombia, Venezuela and St. Maarten and with membership of a criminal organization. The case is linked to the trial of customs officer Nestor Sanchez, who was sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment in September for a transport of 268 kilos of cocaine on an Insel Air flight from Curacao to St. Maarten

Henry R., a 29-year-old better known under his nickname Papillon, faces more charges than his co-defendants. The prosecution considers R. as one of the organizers of several drug transports. According to the summons, Papillon traveled to Colombia and to Venezuela for arrangements about payment and delivery of drugs, he maintained phone contacts with go-betweens of purchasers and with suppliers, made payments for transports and delivery of drugs and he had packaging material in his possession and material for the preparation of drugs, such as a scale.

On October 1 of last year, Papillon went with drugs wrapped in bags of a fast food chain to the Inn Cargo building at the airport with the intention to deliver them to co-defendant R.G.

On February 20 of this year officers found 24 grams of cocaine and 51 grams of marijuana during a house search at the Papillon’s home.

Like all other defendants Papillon, a former hairdresser who says he is now working as a gypsy cab driver, is also charged with membership of a criminal organization.

Gilbert Obispo W. faces charges for a role in organizing the drugs transports. Like Papillon, this 55-year -old defendant traveled to Colombia and Venezuela for making arrangements.

The role of Sagerdy Eduardo G. is limited, but this defendant cooperated with the prosecution to such an extent, that he had to be detained off-island for his own safety. According to his attorney Geert Hatzmann, G. declined for this reason also to appear in court yesterday.

Another absent defendant was Julissa M.-B., a 40-year-old woman whose pretrial detention had already been suspended but who went to the Dominican Republic for medical treatment. By not appearing in court, she violated the condition of the suspension, reason for prosecutor Gonda van der Wulp to ask the court to revoke it. Attorney Brenda Brooks told the court that her client had been free to travel and that she only discovered in the Dominican Republic that she would have to undergo surgery. “She will be here at the trial in November,” the attorney promised.

M.-B. is charged with selling cocaine on the island, or so it appears from the testimony of witness Octavio Ogando Garcia.

Yesterday the attorneys for all defendants asked the court to suspend their pretrial detention until November, but in this sense there were only favorable decisions for Juan Manuel H. (38) who was released yesterday at 5 p.m. and for Randell Mathias G. (32) who was also released.

For Julissa M.-B. the suspension of her pretrial detention continues, though this has little significance, since this defendant will remain in the Dominican Republic until her trial date.

Sagerdy Eduardo G., Henry R. and Gilberto Obispo W. all remain in custody. Henry R.’s attorney Safira Ibrahim described her client as a quiet young man, a father of four kids who had never before been involved with justice. That statement was not entirely accurate, because the Court in First Instance sentenced R. in 2007 to 10 years for fatally shooting Maurice Hughes on September 29, 2006. On appeal, the Common Court of Justice ruled that Papillon had shot in self-defense and acquitted him. In 2010, Papillon was in court again, this time as an accessory to an armed robbery at the home of 60-year old musician Alphonso Brooks in Guana Bay, but the court acquitted him in this case as well.

In the Pointe Blanche prison, Papillon was the victim of a stabbing on June 25 of this year. According to Ibrahim, he sustained six stab wounds; according to the prosecution, he never filed a complaint.

The trial will take place on November 27 for all but one defendant. Gilberto W. will come to court on November 28, due to the absence of his attorney Shaira Bommel a day earlier.

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