Possible release for Jamaicans, Cubans suspected of drug trafficking in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (CMC):
Due to lack of evidence Haitian judicial authorities could soon release three Jamaicans who were detained on suspected drug trafficking near the southern island of Ile-a-Vache, off the city of Les Cayes.
The judicial authorities would now only consider illegal immigration charges against them as they entered the country without the proper documents.
The three Jamaicans Mark Reid, Fenton Johnson and Mark Pitt were held with two Cubans, Juan Rafael Hidalgo and Alexis Leyva Moreno who are facing the same charges.
The suspects were taken to the anti-drug unit headquarters in Haiti where they were detained for several weeks and subjected to routine questioning, before being returned recently to Les Cayes for further judicial proceedings.
Last Tuesday, judicial authorities disclosed that the Jamaicans and Cubans, firstly wrongly believed to be Colombians, could be released following a session that will be held soon, at the Magistrate's court in Les Cayes.
"When they were arrested they were not actually found in possession of narcotics and we don't have enough evidence to keep them on such charges," a magistrate, familiar with case, said on condition of anonymity.
"Since they have entered the country illegally, I believe this is the only charge that can be discussed and I believe they will be released," said the judge, explaining that after their release they would have to leave the country or regularise their situation with relevant authorities.
Anti-drug police agents had believed that the Jamaicans could have been involved in a drug deal with a wanted alleged Haitian trafficker they were in touch with by telephone as they maneuvered in Haitian waters towards Ile-a-Vache.
The suspects have denied any involvement in drug trafficking and claimed that Haitian authorities were mistaken about them, when they thought "we could be part of Colombian drug dealers networks."
"They arrested us because they thought we were Colombians since we speak Spanish, but we had no drug" said Alexis Leyva Moreno.
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