Crime — 07 December 2012 — by Albert J. Ciego

Six men who were charged with drug trafficking and aiding in landing a plane that brought 2 tons of cocaine into the country have been freed of the charges by the Supreme Court in Dangriga yesterday, December 4, bringing the case to a close.

The case began on Monday, November 12, and 36 witnesses testified for the prosecution. The six men, five of whom are policemen, are Renel Grant, Lawrence Humes, Jacinto Roches, Mark Middleton, Harold Usher and a civilian, Victor Logan.

Although they were released from police custody, the five policemen still have a “possession of unlicensed ammunition” charge before the court, to which they must still answer.

However, police said that they had already been granted bail for that charge, and they were free to leave the court.

Richard “Dickey” Bradley, the lead defense attorney for the men, said that the defense made a no-case submission due to the insufficient evidence. The prosecution had not been able to link any of the men to the plane or the drug, and Justice Denis Hanomansingh upheld the no-case submission and directed the jury to find the six accused not guilty of drug trafficking.

Lead prosecutor , Cecil Ramirez, has already begun the process to appeal the verdict. Also prosecuting the case with Ramirez were Crown Counsels Leroy Banner and Tasha Grant.

The case had been known as Belize’s biggest drug case, involving 2 tons of cocaine with an estimated street value of BZ$168 million

The police reported that on November 14, 2010 a suspected drug plane had landed on the Southern Highway. Police had set up a road block about two miles from where the plane landed, and the 5 policemen, in a white van, were intercepted at the road block.

When police searched the van, they allegedly found paraphernalia to signal a plane. The area was searched and the cocaine was found in two areas, and the men were then charged with the offences.

Bradley said that the van was never seen stopping on the highway, nor was any of the men seen going into the plane or handling the drug.

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