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Five Venezuelans were jailed for a total of 38 years for the possession and trafficking of cocaine

Acting Chief Magistrate Gloria Augustus has sentenced five Venezuelan nationals who pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine, and trafficking of cocaine to 38 years in jail.

They were also charged under the Customs Act for false declaration and pleaded guilty and sentenced to 18 years in jail to run concurrently with the drug trafficking and possession charges.

The five defendants Hector Louis Ramerez aged 33, Daike Jose Herrera Ramerez aged 19, Daniel Jose Rivas Herrera, Pedro Celestino Ramos, and Yhorbby Jose Rosario aged 27 all pleaded guilty to the charges.

Hector was fined EC$75,000.00 in default 8 years jail, Pedro EC$40,000.00 in default 7 years jail, Daike EC$45,000.00 default 7 years, Daniel EC$60,000.00 default 8 years, and Yhorbby EC$50,000.00 default 8 years jail. The fines were to be paid forthwith and since they were not paid they started the jail sentence today.

On the charge of false declaration to customs, Hector was jailed for 5 years, Pedro for 4 years, Daike for 4 years, Daniel for 5 years, and Yhorbby for 5 years. Those sentences are to run concurrently with the drug offenses.

The five together carried 5,361.4 grams of cocaine with an estimated street value of EC$143,407.80

The men arrived in Dominica via Barbados on August 20, 2023, and acting on intelligence were taken into custody and brought to the Douglas Charles airport where an X-ray was done and the illegal substance was found in their stomach. They were then admitted to the Alford Ward under police protection and given medication to pass the drugs.

In court speaking through a Spanish interpreter, the men claimed that they were “kidnapped and threatened” if they had not followed instructions to induce the drugs with the final destination being the Dominican Republic.

19-year-old Daike Jose Herrera told the court that the five family members working construction together in Venezuela were “kidnapped as a group with men wearing masks. “We were fearful for our lives and family, we had a job to do so we did it,” he said.

The maximum penalty is EC$150,000 or based on the value three times the amount or whichever is more significant or 15 years in jail but not less than 7 years.

They were not represented by any lawyer, the prosecution has also made an application for them to be deported from Dominica after serving their sentences.

Five others who arrived on the island on August 21, 2023, via Barbados and was also arrested with Cocaine pellets in their stomach totaling 6,489.2 grams also appeared before Senior Magistrate Michael Laudat and pleaded guilty to possession, trafficking, and false declaration will return to court on August 29, 2023, where the facts will be read and they will be sentenced.

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