Mega drug smuggler back to court for new hearing: Supreme Court strikes down denied extradition request

POSTED: 07/23/14 12:20 PM

St. Maarten – The Common Court of Justice will have to revisit the request from the United States of America to extradite drug smuggler Jhon Henry Medina. On September 11 of last year, the Common Court concluded, based on the extradition treaty that Medina’s extradition was not permissible and it advised to reject the request. The Supreme Court has voided this ruling in cassation and sent the case back to the Common Court for review. In the meantime, the Common Court has sentenced Medina to 7 years and 4 months for his involvement in the shipment of 1,453 kilos of cocaine.

Solicitor-General Taco Stein filed for cassation against the September 11 court ruling. In its decision, the court ruled that the evidence against Medina that the United States presented with its extradition request did not meet the requirements from the extradition treaty.

The court ruled that the affidavit the St. Croix-based Assistant United States Attorney Bryan Foreman submitted did not contain “a single piece of evidence the affidavit refers to.” Medina’s attorney Shaira Bommel noted that the investigation-report from the Coast Guard was also missing from Foreman’s documents.

The Supreme Court writes in its ruling that there is no support in the extradition treaty for the Common Court’s conclusion that the affidavit must include “the evidence the affidavit refers to.”

The Supreme Court therefore concludes that the objections against the Common Court’s ruling are justified. This means that the Common Court will have to take a new decision about the extradition request.

On March 4, 2013, the Coast Guard arrested Medina on board of a speedboat that was sailing from the direction of St. Maarten towards the Dominican Republic, carrying 1,453 kilos of cocaine. The other crewmembers – Carlos Miguel Olivier Cruz and Marco David Santana Guerero – never stood trial because they escaped on June 23 of last year from the prison section of the police station.

The Coast Guard spotted Medina’s Eduardono fiberglass boat on the evening of March 3, 2013. It was powered by three 200 horsepower outboard engines and on its way from Venezuela to the Dominican Republic. The boat was moving at 17 knots (34.1 kilometers) per hours. Warning shots were fired and in the end the Coast Guard managed to apprehend the crew. On board they found 51 bales, containing 1,453 kilos of cocaine. Prosecutor Tineke Kamps valued the drugs at $1.2 billion. The Coast Guard gave 11 kilos of cocaine for evidence to agents of the American Drug Enforcement Administration.



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