Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022. 8:32 am CST.
By BBN Staff: Mexican national, 35-year-old Juan Pablo Cabrera Lagunas, who initially pleaded guilty to drug trafficking after he was found with almost 9 kilos of crystal methamphetamine in Belize, changed his plea to not guilty when he appeared in court today.
He was caught on July 28 in Patchakan Village, Corozal District, with a total of 8,913 grams of crystal meth and pleaded guilty when he was arraigned in the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court. However, since the Mexican is unable to speak English, the Court appointed Attorney Marcel Cardona as AMICUS CURIAE (“Friend of the Court”) to explain to the Mexican in Spanish what his guilty plea means and what the Court Affidavits, written in English, were saying.
Accordingly the Mexican only pleaded guilty because the police officers told him he would have been able to get a fine only on sentencing. The Court appointed Attorney, Marcel Cardona, informed the accused that he was being misled or ill-advised. At the sentencing hearing, the situation was explained to the sitting Orange Walk Magistrate, and the Magistrate herself, in the interests of justice and fairness decided to change his plea to not guilty.
With the plea change, bail was denied on the grounds that Lagunas is a flight risk since he is not a Belizean national. He was further remanded to the Belize Central Prison until October 19.
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