A major drug bust of EC$1.3 million last week Tuesday night by police has led to the arrest of two men from St. David and St. John who were later charged with Trafficking and Importing a Controlled Drug.
The suspects – Corinth resident, Rylon Gunpot, 34, along with co-accused Michael Marrast, 32, from Upper St. John, were apprehended by police in the vicinity of St. Peter’s Street in Gouyave, after 573 pounds of cannabis was discovered in the Lexus-branded car they were traveling in.
Gunpot and Marrast appeared at the Gouyave Magistrate’s Court last week Friday and were granted bail in the sum of EC$150, 000.00 by female Magistrate Nevlyn John.
The charges were read out to them but they were not required to enter a plea as the Prosecution is proceeding with the case indictably.
Gunpot has retained the services of Attorney-at-Law Anselm Clouden, while Attorney-at-Law Andre Thomas is representing Marrast.
Both attorneys made bail applications to the court which met with strong objection from the Prosecution.
According to the Police Prosecutor handling the matter, the State has “very strong evidence” against the suspects and objected to bail out of fear that the drug accused men would abscond due to the serious nature of the case and the penalties attached.
If convicted, Gunpot and Marrast face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment on the drug trafficking charge and 20 years on the drug importation charge or a fine of EC$500, 000.00.
Despite the Prosecution’s contention, Attorney Thomas reminded the court that trafficking and importation of drugs are bailable offences.
“The Prosecution said it has a strong case…but I don’t see how that applies to bail being granted,” Attorney Thomas told the court.
He also reminded Magistrate John that “bail should not be used as a punishment.”
“And I think that’s what the Prosecution is trying to do,” said
Attorney Thomas, who informed the court that “this matter would be dealt with quickly,” as his client, who currently has no antecedents, has already “accepted ownership of the substance.”
“This is a matter that would be dealt with very quickly,” he assured the court.
In objecting to bail specifically for Gunpot, the Police Prosecution team informed the court that he has three (3) prior convictions of a similar nature and labeled him a flight risk.
However, Attorney Clouden, who echoed the sentiments expressed by his legal colleague in terms of bail, told the court that his client only has one (1) prior conviction and the other two (2) matters are still pending at the St. David’s Magistrate’s Court.
“There is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty…and there is no evidence before the court that my client is a flight risk…he has other matters pending and has been showing up for court”, Attorney Clouden said, citing several points of law to support his argument.
After listening to arguments from both sides, Magistrate John, took the decision to grant bail to Gunpot and Marrast in the sum of EC$150, 000 each with conditions – family members and persons with criminal records are not eligible to sign bail on their behalf.
As part of the bail conditions, Gunpot was ordered to report to the St. David’s Police Station every Monday and Friday between the hours of 6.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m., while Marrast will have to report to the Hermitage Police Station under the same terms.
The drug suspects are due back before the Gouyave Magistrate’s Court on April 23.