Crime General — 05 September 2014
3 men charged with drug trafficking; only 1 convicted

BELIZE CITY–Two brothers and one of their cousins were jointly charged with drug trafficking, but at the end of the trial today in the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, only one of the trio was convicted of the offense.

Kent Mendez, a resident of Cleghorn Street and employee of Madisco, was found guilty of drug trafficking and Smith fined him $10,000, the minimum fine for drug trafficking. However, Mendez was ordered to pay $5,000 forthwith and the remaining $5,000 by February 27, 2015.

Mendez’s brother, Kevin Mendez, 34, and his cousin, Jason Lewis, 29, were found not guilty of the charge.

At the end of the workday, Mendez was unable to pay the $5,000 fine, so he has remained in custody. If he is unable to come up with the money, he will have to serve the minimum 3-year prison sentence the offense carries.

According to the evidence presented in court, on October 17, 2013, the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) executed a search warrant at the home of Kent Mendez, at 11 Cleghorn Street.

The search resulted in the discovery of a suitcase belonging to Kent. Inside the suitcase, police found a zip-lock plastic bag in which 111 grams of cannabis were found.

At the time when the GSU conducted their search, all three men were present at the house.

Mendez’s brother and cousin denied that they had any knowledge of the presence of the cannabis.

Kent Mendez, too, denied having knowledge of the cannabis.

In finding him guilty, the Chief Magistrate noted that the cannabis was found in a suitcase in his room.

Smith told Kevin Mendez and Jason Lewis that she was giving them the benefit of the doubt and found them not guilty.

The court prosecutor called several witnesses, which included the arresting officer, GSU Corporal Sam Gladden.

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