Snowflake-defendant shot to death one day before court appearance

POSTED: 05/26/11 12:47 PM

Cappuccino-owner suspect in large-scale drug smuggling case

St. Maarten / By Hilbert Haar – A day before he was scheduled to appear in the Court in First Instance as a defendant in the Snowflake cocaine smuggling trail, Hector Miguel Arrindell, the 32-year-old owner of the Cappuccino bar and restaurant in Simpson Bay was shot to death.
The shooting occurred yesterday shortly before noon on the bank of the Simpson Bay Lagoon in the vicinity of the Cole Bay Tire Center.
The office of the public prosecutor only wanted to confirm yesterday afternoon that a shooting had occurred. “The investigation is ongoing and at the moment we prefer not to make any statement,” Chief Prosecutor Mr. Hans Mos said.
Arrindell, who was born in the Dominican Republic, was shot several times. His attorney mr. S.R. Bommel heard the news while she was at the courthouse shortly before handling the defense of teenager Delroy D.A.F. against charges of attempted murder. Bommel said that her client had intended to attend the court hearing today, together with his brother Rodolfo and two other suspects in the Snowflake trial, Michiel Jean E. from the French side and Curacaolenenan Elmer N.V. M.
The Snowflake trial is an end station of a large scale drugs investigation. The defendants are accused of smuggling 623 kilos of cocaine from Colombia via St. Maarten to the Netherlands. In May of last year Arrindell and the other suspects were arrested. In a house in Cole Bay investigators found 170 kilos of cocaine.
But the case threatened to fall apart when the prosecution discovered in December that a police report that is part of the case file had been antedated. Based on this procedural error, the prosecution asked the court to declare it inadmissible. Judge mr. M. Keppels demanded further investigation into the contested report. In March the prosecution came back to court and this time it sang a different tune: the contested and deliberately antedated report did not contain any evidence and it is now, according to the prosecution irrelevant to the trial.
Today Judge Keppels will rule on the admissibility of the prosecution. If she decided that the trial can go ahead, she will set a date for it later this year.
mr. Bommel said yesterday that she did not know whether there is a link between her client’s murder and the trial.

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