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Five Venezuelan nationals each sentenced to 7 years in jail for trafficking and possession of cocaine

A mere one day after five of their countrymen were jailed for trafficking and possession of cocaine, another five who pleaded guilty to the same offenses have been jailed at the Stock Farm Prison in Dominica for 7 years each.

Wibber Jesus Delpretty Oliveros (130 pellets) totaling 1,358.3 grams with an estimated street value of EC$35,994.95.

Jose Del Carmen Serranda Carreno (70 pellets) totaling 1,927.1 grams with an estimated street value of EC$51,068.15

Emerson Ricardo Machado Campos (100 pellets) totaling 1,263.7 grams with an estimated street value of EC$33,488.05

Yofra Alexander Martinez Martinez (99 pellets) totaling 1,122.6 grams with an estimated street value of EC$29,663.75

Luis Alfredo Machado Campos (64 pellets) totaling 817.5 grams with an estimated street value of EC$22,663.75

The total Cocaine weighed 6,489.2 grams with a total estimated street value of EC$172,963.80 (US$63,662.19)

Brief facts on the matter

On Monday, August 21, 2023, between 7:30 pm and 11 pm, the five Venezuelan nationals arrived at the Douglas Charles, and after examination by customs they were kept into custody and then taken to the China Friendship Hospital (DCFH) to be examined for alleged drugs in the body.

On arrival at the hospital, they were medically examined and then taken to the radiology department where a CT scan was done and revealed they had elementary objects in their body.

They were then admitted to the Alford Ward and given treatment to excrete the ingested substances. The following day, they were met with police and customs after they had excreted the ingested objects and taken into custody with the objects since they were discharged.

On arrival at police headquarters, they were told of their rights and questioned about the alleged cocaine and after each giving a statement, they were formally arrested and charged with possession of cocaine and trafficking. They all pleaded guilty to the charges.  

Speaking to the court as part of their plea in mitigation

Senior Magistrate Michael Laudat then informed them, that the facts presented to the court to which they have all pleaded guilty were “very serious offenses” and carried a fine of EC$150,000.00 and or a maximum of 15 years in jail but not less than 7 years in jail.

Luis Alfredo Machado Campos speaking through an interpreter, told the court, that he had received a job offer, and when he arrived at the point where he was supposed to receive the job he was “abducted” and held for 15 days during which time he was “threatened.”

“I am the breadwinner of my family, and right now I don’t know how they are doing, I was forced to do this and now the life of my family is at risk, I took the job to support them,” he said.

“I am not going to lie to you, things are very hard in Venezuela and I jumped at the opportunity, I am not a delinquent, and don’t categorize me as a drug dealer, any Venezuelan, given an opportunity to work outside Venezuela would take it hence we are being taken advantage off. I will however accept whatever comes my way, but Venezuela is difficult,” he stated almost in tears. He said he left in search of work and did not expect that outcome.

Yofra Alexander Martinez Martinez also spoke and said he was also offered a “job offer” that ended up in that situation. “I was forced, fear was also put in me, my life was at risk,” he said.

Sentence

In passing sentence, Magistrate Laudat stated that the court notes that all five of them broke the trust extended to them as “visitors to the Nature Isle” and that their entry into Dominica was “never intended to bring drugs to our shores, but to come and enjoy what nature had to offer.”

“This court has recognized the effect this drug (cocaine) is having on the fabric of our country. The consumption of illegal drugs especially cocaine is putting a burden on the country and its health sector, coming to Dominica with drugs concealed, also puts an extra burden on the health sector since man hours were spent removing the drugs from your system,” he said.

“Taking the forgoing, in handing down the sentence, I will be deviating from the sentencing guideline as outlined by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC), You all are first-time offenders, fully cooperated with the police, pleaded guilty, and did not waste judicial time. I also take into account as stated by you, the hardship in your country Venezuela, but the court must safeguard the Dominican public.”

On the charge of possession of cocaine, they each were sentenced to 7 years in jail, and on the charge of drug trafficking, they were each also sentenced to 7 years in jail. The sentences are to run concurrently.

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