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Nov 10, 2016

“Jihad” McLaren to Court for Weed – Are Activists Under Threat?

Nedal McLaren

Well-known political and social activist Nedal McLaren was hauled before the court this afternoon for allegedly stashing eight point six grams of marijuana inside his underwear.  “Murphy”, as the fifty-six-year-old is otherwise known, vehemently denies that the quantity of weed is his and instead is claiming that it was planted on him by the police.  At three o’clock this afternoon, McLaren was escorted to the magistrate’s court where he appeared unrepresented before Magistrate Deborah Rogers.  He was arraigned on a single charge of possession of a controlled drug and pleaded not guilty.  McLaren has expressed that he is prepared to fight the charge in court.  Officers attached to the Mobile Interdiction Team were conducting a vehicular checkpoint at Sand Hill Village when a black, four-door Ford Explorer traveling in the direction of Belize City arrived at the checkpoint.  McLaren, who was driving the vehicle, was asked to produce a driver’s license before being ordered to pull over to the side of the road.  The officer reportedly claimed to have smelled the aroma of marijuana coming from the SUV.  According to police, McLaren then took out a plastic bag containing what appears to be marijuana from the seam of his underpants.  He was escorted to the Ladyville Police Station where he was charged with drug possession.  McLaren denies ever handing over marijuana to any of the officers.  The outspoken militant was offered and met bail in the sum of six hundred dollars, plus one surety of the same amount.  Following his arraignment, McLaren, flanked by COLA President Geovannie Brackett, spoke with the media.

 

Nedal McLaren, Charged for Marijuana Possession

“From the commissioner of police know I smoke weed. I noh hide nothing. But this thing dah wah personal thing between me and the bwai from MIT, Elijio where he like rough up street man. I put him ina ih place. But this thing is beyond that; it is not the first time dehn come after me. They try other smaller things and I don’t pay it any attention. But dehn gone atta Geovannie, they gone after Rivers, they gone after Stix and now they pick on the wrong bally house. If you wait here or you follow me and go with me, I can give you evidence where government of Belize and foreign agencies are moving chemicals through this country that can be used to make methamphet[hamine]….I have posted this information on many occasions on my Facebook page—only the customs entry—and I’ve never gotten a response from nobody. I even call senior police officers. So when they think that they can play me, there is much more information out there. We also have a auditor general report and you ain’t never heard about that. These things have been covered up and then they try to use me as a scapegoat and try to undermine me. Government of Belize is too low down, too small, too corrupt to undermine me.”

 

Geovannie Brackett

Reporter

“But you do know and you do appreciate that marijuana is an illegal drug under the laws of Belize?”

 

Nedal McLaren

“Man you can put it as you want it. If the laws of Belize and marijuana….man Belize crazy. The laws of Jamaica, the laws of Trinidad, the laws of Canada…the laws of Great Britain…you wah tell me that dehn wah carry American crap because at the end of the day, MIT is paid by America and America is more drugs that any Belizean…so why you wah lock up in jail for a lee joint when America is making big money off of we.”

 

Reporter

“But this is Belize. It is illegal to even have a roach with you.”

 

Geovannie Brackett, President, COLA

“Let me say something here. We don’t want to lament. The weed possession is one angle, but clearly there have been members that have been targeted. Our sources prove that within the police department warned us that we would actually be targeted. So you’ve seen it with Stix, with Raymond Rivers, and now you see it with me myself and other COLA members. And now Nedal McLaren. And so we want to send a message to the government that this intimidation tactic will not deter us from holding steadfast to the advocacy that we have held for so many years and COLA remains strong.”

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