BELIZE CITY, Wed. Aug. 14, 2019– Three Mexican nationals, Belen Hernandez, Leonel Peralta Rodriguez, and Joscon Jaffet Hernandez, who were accused of stealing thousands of dollars from Atlantic Bank ATM machines in different areas of the country, were acquitted of all charges at the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on Friday and were released after spending 17 months on remand.
They have since returned to Mexico.
Police charged Joscon and Belen Hernandez with 2 counts of theft, and Leonel Rodriguez with 9 counts of theft — crimes the police allege they committed against Atlantic Bank.
The 3 Mexican nationals stood trial for the charges in Corozal Town, before Magistrate Leonel Olivera, where they were acquitted, and on February 5, they also stood trial in Orange Walk Town, where they were also found not guilty, before Magistrate Patricia Arana. Court reports stated that three witnesses for the prosecution gave evidence, including the lead investigator in the case, Inspector Wilfred Ferrufino.
Leslie Hamilton, attorney for the three Mexicans, made a no-case-to answer submission because none of the witnesses could link the accused to the theft. Magistrate Arana agreed with the defense on the no-case submission and threw out the case.
Although they were acquitted at the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court, the Mexicans were still not free to go, because they had more charges of theft pending, in Belize City.
When the three Mexicans appeared at the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on Friday, however, they were told that the charges against them had been dismissed. The reasons for the dismissal of the case were not stated, and the Mexicans were free to go.