Second Snowflake-suspect murdered

POSTED: 07/8/11 1:38 PM

St. Maarten – Rodolfo Arrindell was shot to death on Thursday morning around two o’clock when he returned to his home in Fort Willem. Prosecutor mr. Bart den Hartigh confirmed the killing and said that the crime seems drugs related. “But we keep an open mind for other scenarios,” he said.

Den Hartigh said that Arrindell was shot in front of his wife. The murder victim, 37, was a suspect in the Snowflake-investigation. Arrindell, his brother Hector Miguel and Martinois Michel Jean E. were scheduled to appear in court on Thursday May 26. The day before the trial, Cappucino Bar owner Hector Miguel, 32, was shot to death in Cole Bay.

The Snowflake suspects are charged with smuggling 623 kilos of cocaine from Colombia via St. Maarten to the Netherlands. On May 5 of last year, investigators confiscated 170 kilos of cocaine in a house in Simpson Bay and the Arrindells were arrested. The arrest of Michel Jean E., 35, followed shortly afterwards. A fourth suspect in the case is Elmer Nicandro Vigilio M., 37, from Curacao.

Prosecutor Den Hartigh said yesterday that investigators work with scenarios and that a link between the Arrindell murders and the Snowflake investigation is one of those scenarios.

The investigation into the huge drug smuggling operation took an unexpected turn when the prosecutor’s office discovered that a police report had been antedated, thereby wrong-footing prosecutors and the Judge of Instruction. Initially, the prosecution asked the court in December to declare it inadmissible because of this highly irregular occurrence. The court however demanded more information and when the case returned to the courtroom in March, the prosecution had changed its tune and claimed that the antedated report was in fact irrelevant and that it wanted to continue with the case. That in turn led to furious reactions from defense lawyers who used terms like “unbelievable,” “forgery is a crime,” and “the public prosecutor’s office is bound by expectations it created” to express their feelings.

On May 26, the court postponed the Snowflake-trial until August 24, but not after declaring the prosecution inadmissible in the prosecution of the deceased Hector Miguel Arrindell. In August the prosecution will have to declare itself inadmissible in the prosecution of his brother Rodolfo as well.

 

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