They are facing drug and firearm charges
BELIZE CITY, Tues. Feb 12, 2019– Two Belizean men living in Chicago allegedly went to Erie, Pennsylvania, to sell one kilo of heroin, but the drug deal did not go as planned and instead of money being collected by the two men for the drug sale, bullets began flying between sellers and buyers, and the sellers ended up in police custody and were arraigned on drug and ammunition charges, Tim Hahn reported in the online publication, GoErie.com.
The incident occurred on Thursday, February 7, in the parking garage near the courtyard of the Marriott Erie Bayfront Hotel, around 5:45 p.m.
One of the two Belizeans who went to Erie to sell the drug has been identified as Jermaine Belgrave, who has had many run-ins with Belize’s criminal justice system and is very well known to police.
Belgrave, 36, was shot in the stomach and remains hospitalized, but has been arraigned on drugs, weapon and assault charges and his bond has been set at $500,000.
Belgrave turned up in Erie in a Chevy Impala, along with another Belizean, Charles Baizar, 35, a resident of Chicago.
Reports out of Erie are that as Belgrave and Baizar approached a black SUV to sell the kilo of heroin, two men opened fire on them. They were both apprehended by responding police as they attempted to flee the area in a Chevrolet Impala.
Erie police also recovered some of the heroin, which had been dropped when the shooting began.
Baizar was shot in the foot and was apprehended by police. He told authorities that they were going to sell the heroin for $80,000 to a man known to him only as Greg. The driver of the SUV picked up 300 grams of the heroin they had dropped when the shooting started. Erie authorities estimated that the heroin has a street value of around $200,000.
Baizar was arraigned the following day, Friday, by Erie 2nd Ward District Judge Paul Urbaniak on one felony count of possession with intent to deliver and was put in the Erie County Prison on a $500,000 bond.
“Baizar told detectives that Greg showed up in the black SUV driven by an unknown person and after the SUV was parked, he approached the vehicle carrying a bag that contained the heroin, according to information in Baizar’s criminal complaint. He said that when he got to the driver’s side of the SUV, the driver got out and started shooting, and he fled the scene, dropping the bag that contained the heroin, detectives wrote in the complaint,” Hahn reported.
Belgrave, who remains hospitalized, was also arraigned on Friday by Urbaniak on charges of manufacture, delivery and possession of drugs, possession of controlled substance, use/possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts of aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person (the shootout occurred in the presence of many onlookers); and possession of a prohibited firearm and firearm not to be carried without a license. Bond was set at $500,000, Hahn reported.
The area that the men chose to conduct the illegal drug transaction is filled with surveillance cameras, and authorities are poring over those surveillance videos to get a handle on the case and to identify the persons involved.
Police have also impounded the car in which the two traveled to Erie, and are expected to search the hotel room that was rented by the two Belizeans from Chicago.
In March 2015, Jermaine Belgrave walked off a murder indictment after Justice Adolph Lucas found him not guilty of the June 2011 murder of Cleo Robinson, 35.
Robinson was shot in February 2010 and died on June 30, 2011. Before he died, however, Robinson gave a statement to police in which he identified Belgrave as the person who shot him. His statement was admitted into the evidence against Belgrave. Robinson said in his statement that he knew Belgrave, because they had met in prison.
Justice Lucas, however, found that the identification evidence from Robinson’s statement was insufficient as a basis on which to convict Belgrave. The judge questioned why Robinson had not told the woman police officer, to whom he told his name when she responded to the shooting, who shot him.
Belgrave had also been charged with the attempted murder of Corporal Harold Grinage, whom he and another man, Jeffery Flowers, allegedly shot at in March 2010.
In December 2009, Belgrave was shot in the shoulder by Michael Henry, 28, who was charged with his attempted murder.
Belgrave was also among four other men charged with the robbery of First Caribbean Bank. It is not known if the case had ever reached a conclusion at the court.
Authorities in Erie have contacted the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding the status of Belgrave, who entered the US illegally. So apart from the criminal charges that he is facing, Belgrave will also be processed by ICE for his illegal entry into the US.