Three men arrested in a police sting operation that netted 60 kilos of cocaine valued at EC $6 million have been denied bail and sent to the Richmond Hill prison until their next court date on April 4.
The trio – Mahendra Singh, Asstaf Alley and Paul De Roache – appeared last Thursday before Magistrate Karen Noel in the No. 2 Magistrate’s Court in St. George’s who rejected submissions made by a team of defense attorneys for bail to be given to their clients.
The Magistrate had actually heard the submissions one day earlier on the Wednesday and reserved her decision until the following morning.
The 35-year-old Singh who resides at Belmont, St George’s is associated with Spice Isle Recycling (scrap metal business) in the Woodlands area while Alley, 30, of Mt Granby, St John is a Welder by profession.
The other suspect is 43 year old De Roache of the small sister isle of Petite Martinique but who currently resides at Archibald Avenue, St. George’s.
Attorney-at-Law, Ruggles Ferguson who represents Singh, the winner of the GCIC Award for Environmental Excellence in 2013 told the Magistrate that his client is innocent of the charges laid against him and that it was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Ferguson informed the Court that the young businessman, husband and father of three has been having challenges financially with his business and that remanding him to prison could have serious repercussions for his family as well as his full time employees.
According to the attorney-at-law, his client is a perfect candidate for bail because “the accused was in the wrong place at the wrong time”..
Attorneys-at-Law Anselm Clouden and George Prime made similar pleas for bail for their clients Alley and De Roache.
However Police Prosecutor, Inspector Godfrey Victor objected to bail for the men on the grounds that they are citizens of Guyana and are considered as flight risk.
The police officer contended that all three men have good sea experience and the possibility exist that they might flee back to Guyana and get lost.
Insp. Victor used the case of former government employee, Crofton Hanibald, a Draughtsman by profession, who was charged with Attempted Murder and granted bail but later skipped the country.
Hanibald was eventually captured in South Africa and had to be extradited back to his homeland at tremendous cost to the State.
The Police Prosecutor put forward the same argument before Magistrate Noel since the State feared that the men could pose a similar challenge if granted bail.
Insp. Victor said that the illegal 60 kilo cocaine matter is a serious offence that can carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.
He told the Magistrate that the evidence against the three suspects is extremely strong and that the Prosecution team intends to move expeditiously with the matter.
Singh, Alley and De Roache were nabbed in a joint strategic operation involving local and International law enforcement officers.
A fishing trawler ” Reel Steel” owned by De Roache was searched two weeks ago (March 6) in the Lagoon and the illegal drugs were allegedly discovered on board the vessel.