Eight Venezuelans committed to stand trial on charges of trafficking $50 million in cocaine

Eight Venezuelans have been committed to stand trial in the High Court on charges of importing and trafficking cocaine with a street value of $50 million.

In giving her ruling, Deputy Chief Magistrate Nanette Forde-John, presiding in the Port-of-Spain Fifth Court, found that a prima facie case had been made out against the foreigners.

They are: Victor Jose Careno, Oscar Thomas Ruiz Colmenarez, Dionya Andres Marval Salazar, Alexis Caldea Lopez, Pablo Rafael Marval Rodriguez, Jose Gregario Marval Salazar, Saul Ellia Waldrop and Jose Florentino Alcala Carrion.

The charges stemmed from an incident on July 2nd, 2016 when the Coast Guard vessel intercepted a vessel off Trinidad's North Coast.

It is alleged that the occupants of the vessel were seen throwing crocus bags of packages overboard.

The police arrested the eight Venezuelans and allegedly recovered 108 packages of cocaine, weighing 90 kilogrammes.

The preliminary inquiry into charges of importing prohibited goods and possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking began last April.

Customs and Excise senior attorney Harricharan Kassie led evidence from 12 witnesses.

The Venezuelans also have another charge - throwing overboard to prevent seizure - which is connected to this incident pending in court.

Their attorney Mario Merritt notified the magistrate of his intention to file for judicial review to challenge her decision.

As a result, the magistrate adjourned the matter to March 20th.


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