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Venezuelan accused of swallowing money gets new court date

Published:Saturday | June 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM

WESTERN BUREAU:The case against a Venezuelan man, who reportedly swallowed approximately US$103,000 (J$11,446,924.57) to avoid declaring the money to customs earlier this year, has been deferred to June 23 to allow his attorney time to take further instructions.

Eddie Ortega, a 40-year-old businessman from San Antonio in Venezuela, was remanded after being given the new court date when he appeared in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court on Monday.

It is alleged that on January 20, 2014, Ortega arrived at the Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay. While he was in the line waiting to be processed, officers, acting on information, approached him and subsequently interviewed him.

Ortega was later transported to hospital, where he excreted a number of parcels, which were found to contain money amounting to US$103,000. Following this, he was arrested.

On Monday, Ortega's attorney, Martyn Thomas, asked presiding magistrate Carolyn Tie for more time to take instructions from his client as Ortega has had to communicate through an interpreter.

"I have been speaking with Mr Ortega, and we were wondering if we could have the matter set for next week as the discussions have not yet been completed," said Thomas. "We just need to ensure that when Mr Ortega leaves here, our instructions will be in writing," the attorney added.

Tie subsequently set the case to be mentioned on July 23 and also indicated that she would keep Ortega's matter on the court's trial list.

"I am going to ask you to return on June 23, and inform him (Ortega) that he will be brought back here on June 23," Tie told Ortega's interpreter. "I will keep it (the case) on the trial list," the magistrate added.

- Christopher Thomas