BELIZE CITY, Wed. Jan. 10, 2018– The United States extradition request to the Belize Government for attorney Andrew Bennett, who has been named in a 2015 federal indictment on the US territory of Puerto Rico, has inched one step closer in the lengthy process after Foreign Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington signed the necessary documents to move the process forward.
Elrington confirmed to Amandala this afternoon that he signed the papers yesterday and sent them back to the Attorney General’s Ministry.
What this basically means is that the Foreign Minister is convinced that the US has a prima facie case against Bennett, who is wanted on a 7-count indictment for money laundering.
Elrington’s signing off on the extradition request paves the way for the Solicitor General to send the papers to the Chief Magistrate, who will then issue a provisional arrest warrant for Bennett so that he can appear in court to have the extradition charge read to him.
Since the news broke that an extradition request has been made by the US for him, Bennett has denied that he has laundered money, and has indicated that he has a legal team with whom he is in consultation about his options.
Bennett was caught up in a United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) sting operation during which he allegedly was given $250,000.(US) by an agent of the DEA who was posing as a legitimate businessman. Bennett allegedly agreed to launder the money for a 20 percent fee.
Extradition cases are extremely complicated matters because they involve treaties signed between the countries involved. In the case of the US and Belize, the two countries signed the Extradition Treaty in 2000.