Posted: Friday, December 4, 2020. 11:17 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Sixteen months after they were first charged in connection with nearly 3,000 pounds of cocaine brought into Belize via a drug plane, seven of eight defendants saw their charges dropped on Wednesday.
Ecuadoran, 44-year-old Juan Pablo Larrea Cruz; and six Hondurans: 37-year-old Terencio Mejia Cruz, 64-year-old Jacabi Yodani Mejia Garcia, 52-year-old Carlos Humberto Henriquez Gomez, and 31-year-old David Noe Orellana Discua, 33-year-old Allan Yovani Mejia Chirinos and 52-year-old Norlan Jose Carrasco Lopez appeared before Chief Magistrate Sharon Frazer with attorneys Richard “Dickie” Bradley and another where they were told of their good fortune.
The Chief Magistrate said the charges were withdrawn based on instructions from the DPP’s office, which we understand could not find sufficient evidence presented by the police to continue with the case. It remained for her to ascertain that they have nothing further against them in Belize and to let them go with an apology for what they had gone through.
Still to answer charges is 71-year-old Miguel Cruz Meseguer, who was identified as the pilot of the drug plane; he remains in prison on quarantine.
Police had been tracking an aircraft likely headed for Belize from Venezuela on September 9, 2019, and managed to spot the aircraft flying low in the area of the Coastal Road. The group surrendered, though not without a fight as they engaged in a shoot-out with law enforcement. However, the DPP’s office found that the evidence gathered, even after repeat requests, was insufficient to meet its standard and so instructed that the charges be withdrawn.
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