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Five held by French authorities following cocaine seizure in Caribbean

From Jamaica Observer

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) – Five men are now in police custody awaiting trial following the seizure of 220 kilograms of cocaine from their boat that was intercepted off the coast of the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe on the weekend.The police report that the Grenada registered boat, the MV Galaxy 1 and five crew members were caught in the waters of Marie Galante, a small island off the coast of Guadeloupe.

On searching the boat, the cocaine was found in the bow of the vessel.

The police report that the drug has an estimated street value of EC$22 million.

The men in custody have been identified as Belon Niles, Hensley David Mitchell, Kenrick Christopher, James Abraham and Kishon Edwards – all from Grenada.

On Monday the boat was returned to the owner – Desmond Roberts, who was not on board the vessel when it was intercepted.

According to the police, the boat was returned as the French authorities said there was no space to hold the vessel until the end of the trial.

“The trial may take some time so it was decided that after all the evidence was gathered that the boat be handed over to the owner,” the police statement noted.

This is not the first time that this boat and crew has been in conflict with the law. Last month the vessel that is used to ply goods between St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Maarten, was used to smuggle alcohol.

According to customs officials, the Grenada Coast Guard and the Mobile Anti-Smuggling Team (MAST) of the Customs Department were on a routine patrol when they observed the illegal activities of the vessel – a quantity of alcoholic beverages and general merchandize were seized during the operation.

In Grenada, the offense of smuggling carries a fine not exceeding EC$100,000 or the equivalent to five times the value of the goods, whichever is greater, or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years.

By mid-April the matter was settled in accordance with the Customs Act. The operators of the boat paid the fine of EC$100,000 and the boat was returned.

(File photo)

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