This morning, Ryan Tillett, 32, a security guard of Vista Del Mar, and Mason Patnett, 26, a construction worker of #2086 Falcon Street, were charged with drug trafficking when they appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith.
According to police, at 9:30 Independence Day morning (Saturday, September 21), a police checkpoint was set up at La Democracia on the George Price Highway, where police observed a black car approaching. The driver of the car was told to pull over to the side of the road, but instead of complying with the officer’s request, the driver sped off down the road toward Hattieville.
This led to a high-speed chase down the highway and as the car approached Mile 23, police saw the car stop and one of its occupants got out and threw away a large black plastic bag, got back into the car and sped away again.
The chase ended somewhere between Miles 16 and 15, where police were able to apprehend the two occupants of the car. The men, who were later identified as Tillett and Patnett, were taken back to where the bag was disposed of, and when police retrieved and opened it, they found it to contain suspected cannabis.
Tillett, Patnett and the drugs were taken to the Hattieville Police Station, where the bag was weighed and amounted to 2,545 grams, or 5.61 pounds. They both pleaded not guilty when they appeared in court this morning and the charge was read to them.
The prosecutor, Sgt. Egbert Castillo, objected to bail, especially for Patnett, on the grounds that he is currently before the court for the same offense. Castillo also objected due to the quantity of suspected drugs that he was found with and that it was valued at more than $1,000, and the fact that instead of pulling over to the side of the road as was instructed by police, they sped off, leading to a high-speed chase on a busy highway.
In response to the objection, Tillett told the court that he had no intention of leaving the country and not appearing for his court adjournment. He also told the court that he is on parole and is the caretaker of a house.
After considering his plea, the Chief Magistrate offered him bail of $1,000 and one surety of the same amount.
But Patnett was not shown the same courtesy – he was remanded to the Belize Central Prison after Sgt. Castillo presented the court with Patnett’s rap sheet, which consisted of four pages. It revealed that Patnett, just in July of this year, was before the court for the same offense, and has another drug trafficking charge for which to answer. He also has an attempted murder charge before the lower court that hasn’t gone to preliminary inquiry as yet.
For these reasons, he was remanded to prison, and both of them are scheduled to appear back in court on November 14, 2013.