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Alleged Drug traffickers heading to HC in May!

Skelton (left) who is a businessman and Harrigan, a former Customs Officer, are facing extradition to the USA. Photo: VINO
Hodge (left) is the alleged mastermind, and Beazer. Photo: VINO
Hodge (left) is the alleged mastermind, and Beazer. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – A date in May 2012 is marked on the High Court’s calendar for the habeas corpus hearing for the five alleged drug runners, who are wanted in the United States of America, to answer narco-trafficking charges.

According to court records from the High Court Registry, the hearing will be heard before Justice Rita Olivetti on May 1, 2012.

Bob Hodge, Roberto Harrigan, Juan Valdez, Carlton Beazer and Chad Skleton are facing extradition to the Southern District of Florida for alleged conspiracy to import cocaine, while a similar request for Hodge was made by the North Carolina authorities.

On March 13, 2012, Senior Magistrate Valerie Stephens had ruled in favour of the Crown to have the accused men be extradited and informed them of their right to make a habeas corpus petition in the HC.

The lawyers had filed petitions between March 27 and 28, 2012, the court records revealed. A habeas corpus is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention, that is, detention lacking sufficient cause or evidence.

Following her ruling, Senior Magistrate Stephens had remanded the men to Her Majesty’s Prison, Balsum Ghut “until such time to await the decision of the Governor.”

Therefore, if the petitions are denied, one legal expert explained to this news agency, the Governor can hand down his decision “almost immediately”.

At a special hearing held on February 3, 6 and 24, 2012, the defense lawyers for the men put forward arguments as to why their clients should not be extradited, with the main reason given that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had applied the 1987 legislation, which does not have the USA on its list.

Hodge was represented by Julian Knowles, QC; Skelton by Tana’nia Davis-Small; Richard Rowe for Beazer; Stephen Daniels for Valdez and Patrick Thompson for Harrigan. Appearing for the Crown were former DPP Terrance Williams and Senior Crown Counsel Valston Graham.

It is alleged that the men were involved in a 13 year trans-Atlantic drug trade where approximately 4,518 kilogrammes of cocaine were airdropped in Virgin Islands' (VI) waters.

11 Responses to “Alleged Drug traffickers heading to HC in May! ”

  • Release (11/04/2012, 08:17) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just leave our local people alone man too much harassment for nothing while the “man” hear doing all kinds of things and getting away scot free
    • UB (11/04/2012, 13:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Come on.... Everyone should be punished for their crimes and according to you for those that get aways 'scot free' there turn will come.
      • dem say (12/04/2012, 11:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        but these guys did nothing wrong. it was just a set up by the white man to get our local boys to the states to sing in exchange for their fredom...more in the mota boss
  • billy b (11/04/2012, 09:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    "A habeas corpus is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention, that is, detention lacking sufficient cause or evidence." Just by the definition of habeas corpus, these guy done lose (waste of money!!!) A local judge already decided that based on the evidence she has seen, there is enough evidence to extradite, so why would a higher court see differently??
    • MAD HOUSE (11/04/2012, 10:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      GO BACK AND READ Valerie's comments during her case......for one she did say something about relying on what their own accomplice has other words, we are of the belief that since he is caught, he can now say anything to get others caught with him! Truth is, I am not in favour of whatever these men did, if they did anything; BUT through all of this, I'm reading a bunch of who say, them say!!! You call it a waste of money, but where are many of those who have gone to the higher courts and it was proven that there was insufficient evidence.....LET ME ANSWER FOR YOU - FREEEEEEEED!
      • TB (11/04/2012, 22:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        I agree. The magistrate based her decision on hear say. Everyone deserves to be heard including those whose names are being called. What I do not understand is why so much is based on the fact that some aircraft was registered in the US. Aircrafts registered in the US travel around the world daily, so how do they prove that the drugs was destined for the US and not Europe, Asia or Canada or anywhere else for that matter.
    • Luvz (11/04/2012, 10:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Exactly, that is the same thing that went through my mind.
    • ALM (11/04/2012, 22:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Simply because it has more experienced people in the higher court. I heard that only the prosecutor got to speak at the last hearing . A higher court will never do that. The judges will listen and base their decision on the evidence presented by both sides.
  • Janet Williams (11/04/2012, 11:35) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    fredom for our people fredom fredom no justice no peace
  • loveone2 (11/04/2012, 19:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    did they ever see any of thee guy with drugs hell no, it is just a bunh of hear same them say, that is what they have themholding with bull crap, a man say this and that and that is evidence, they need to back to magistrate school and learn sme more i think this was a wilful act on her part, but god is love. when people dont like persons it is something else, it look like them want to lock up all tola man, but god is in control. remember those who outthere rejoying you day will come when u live in a glass house dont throw stones i am praying for you guy god will see them though this is just to make them stronger
    • facts man (12/04/2012, 14:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      well this is complex..its bout race, power, ego and the USA want to get credit for using our boys. They know they did nothing wrong but its about some silly presecutor in the States who want something on their resume. but justice will come time longer than twine

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