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ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC) — Magistrate Pearl Williams has denied bail to two St. Vincent and the Grenadines nationals charged with possession of cocaine with intent to supply, saying that they had no “significant ties on the island”.

The men, Phillon Kevin Joseph and Jamel Cordice Delplesche have been charged with possession with intent to supply cocaine to another after the court heard that 573 grams of cocaine was found on May 20, 2024, in Delice, a small village on the south-east of the island.

The men were not required to enter a plea after opting to have their matter heard in the High Court and the case has been adjourned to Sept. 25.

The prosecution objected to bail noting that since the men were arrested at a hotel and did not have a fixed place of residence in Dominica, they were a “flight risk” and granting them bail “was not in the interest of the state”.

The prosecution also argued that “the police were also in pursuit of another individual and granting the men bail would hinder the investigations”.

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The state also quoted section 7 (1) c of the Bail Act, reminding the magistrate of the seriousness of the offence and its prevalence in Dominican society.

But the attorney for the men, Wayne Norde said that the men are CARICOM nationals and that not being a national of Dominica was not enough not to grant them bail. He also argued that the principle of innocence must be upheld in this matter and that the court must not only consider the seriousness of the charge when granting bail.

He said in the past, bail had been granted for more severe cases.

But in her ruling, Williams said the seriousness of the charge could not be considered in isolation as the purpose of bail is to ensure the defendants’ appearance at the next hearing.

She said also the fact that the men are foreign nationals were apprehended at a hotel indicated that they lacked substantial ties to the country increasing the risk of them fleeing the jurisdiction if granted bail.

She said the defence had not demonstrated that the appropriate circumstance had existed to grant bail to the men and that they had “no significant ties on the island”.

Meanwhile, police said that they had seized 17 bales weighing 575 kilograms or 1,265 pounds of cocaine during an operation at sea last Tuesday.

Acting Police Chief Davidson Valerie said the operation on the east coast of the island, resulted in four individuals being arrested.

He told reporters that a foreign vessel that had beached in an area in Delices may have been involved in the trafficking of the drugs.

He said over the past six weeks, law enforcement authorities have seized cocaine with an estimated street value of EC$67 million, warning that this transnational crime of trafficking cocaine and other illicit drugs will not be permitted in Dominica.

“This police force, The Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force, will do everything to dismantle, to disrupt, and to defeat the actions being done and conducted by syndicates operating in Dominica,” Valerie said, adding that he believes that this drug trade has a nexus with firearm trafficking and criminal activities including murders.

“If left to continue, it will pose a serious threat to our national security. We will pursue the individuals involved in these illegal activities on sea and on land to ensure that they are brought to justice.”

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