A sixth man has appeared in court charged in connection with the seizure of a large quantity of marijuana at an apartment in Cunupia in November, last year.
Peter Coltes, 30, a fisherman from Western Main Road, Carenage, was granted $1 million bail after appearing before Magistrate Adia Mohammed on Tuesday charged with drug trafficking and providing support to a gang leader.
Police prosecutor Insp Wayne Mohammed (no relation) objected to bail as he suggested that Coltes would be a flight risk.
Mohammed pointed to the fact that Coltes was arrested by police on his boat off the coast of Trinidad, a few days ago. He also claimed that Coltes mentioned fleeing the country in recorded telephone conversations, which investigators obtained from a wiretap on his cellphone.
“I might go far up the islands, even The Bahamas. I will cool out for a two years and then come back,” Coltes allegedly said in the recording, which was read out by Insp Mohammed.
Coltes’ lawyer Criston J Williams challenged Mohammed’s claims as he suggested that he (Mohammed) could not rely on the recorded conversations which were yet to be tendered into evidence. Williams also claimed that the location of Coltes’ arrest was immaterial as fishing on his boat is part of his daily routine as a fisherman.
The magistrate eventually agreed with Williams, granted him bail and adjourned the case to May 7.
Coltes’ court appearance came less than a week after Dwayne Thomas, 33, of Sandy Way, Fairways, Maraval; Ricardo Harewood, of Sixth Avenue, Malick, Barataria; Dwayne Havelock, of Claxton Bay and Crighton Johnson, of Santa Cruz, all appeared in court on similar charges over the drug bust. They were granted a total of $3.8 million bail.
On November 8, last year, police officers of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) led by Police Commissioner Gary Griffith raided the apartment located at Macaya Trace, off Munroe Road, Cunupia.
During the raid, officers found and seized a large cache of assault rifles and over 80 kilos of marijuana, with a street value of a little over $1 million.
Another man, Jerome Oliverrie was held shortly before the raid and was charged for the drugs and guns in the apartment as well as 10 kilos of marijuana, that was allegedly found in his car.
Oliverrie was initially granted $1 million bail but was unable to access it for several months.
While still on remand, he was slapped with similar charges to Coltes and appeared in court alongside him yesterday.
His attorney John Heath objected as he suggested that the drug trafficking charge may have been duplicated as Oliverrie had previously been charged with two such offences. While he acknowledged that the charges may be dropped or amended before the case goes to trial, Heath claimed that the issue would jeopardise his client’s ability to access bail.
Inspector Mohammed could not explain the discrepancies but noted that Oliverrie was slapped with additional charges after investigators received advice from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
“We will get someone from the DPP’s Office to clean up this mess,” Insp Mohammed said.
The case was adjourned to today when a State attorney from the DPP’s Office is expected to clarify the issue.