General — 13 February 2019 — by Roy Davis (freelance reporter)
Louis Marroquin, 24, denied bail at Supreme Court

BELIZE CITY, Fri. Feb. 8, 2019– Peruvian national Louis Marroquin, 24, one of three foreigners who were remanded to prison on a charge of preparation for a crime, broke down in tears today when Justice Herbert Lord denied him bail.

In his ruling, Justice Lord said that if a preliminary inquiry is not held by March 31, he would be mindful to grant Marroquin bail.

Marroquin’s attorney, Dickie Bradley, submitted that bail is a right and not a privilege, and that based on the facts of the case, a prima facie case had not been established against his client.

He said that on January 17, 2019, Marroquin was in Quality Poultry Restaurant in Dangriga eating chicken with two other foreigners, Chilean national Juan Espinosa and Colombian national Edgar Vargas, when the police arrived and inquired who were the owners of two vehicles that were parked outside of the restaurant.

Espinosa said he was the owner of the Chevy car with Mexican license plates, while Vargas said he was the owner of the other vehicle, a white four-door Volkswagen, also with Mexican license plates.

Bradley said that there was no evidence that Marroquin was connected to what the police found in the vehicles, which police claimed were items that were to be used in the commission of a crime.

The items that the police reported that they found included a blue knapsack that contained one small hacksaw, one small roll of electrical tape, one small roll of red electrical waterproof tape, epoxy glue, a glue gun, pieces of transparent plastic that appeared to be parts of an ATM card, a number of visa cards and other cards; a knapsack containing a number of electronic equipment, three laptop computers with chargers, and several personal items that included clothing and footwear.

Bradley said that the court’s biggest concern was whether Marroquin was a flight risk and that could be addressed, he said, with the court imposing certain conditions.

Crown Counsel Riis Cattouse, who represented the respondent, objected to bail being granted to Marroquin on the ground that Marroquin has no ties to Belize and that he might abscond if he is granted bail.

Justice Lord upheld his objection and denied Marroquin bail.

Marroquin came to Belize as a tourist on January 10. He has a wife, Noelia, and a son, Mateo, in Lima, Peru. His brother-in-law, Roberto Boffa, with whom he owns a company in Peru, came all the way from Peru to assist him.

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