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Sep 11, 2013

Court hears closing arguments in the extradition case of Gary Seawell

Gary Seawell

In February 2010, fugitive from the law Gary Seawell was captured by Belize Police after being on the run for three years. He was found on a remote hillside in the Cayo district with drugs, assault weapons and a grenade and was taken into custody. But even as he faces those charges before a local court, Seawell is wanted by Uncle Sam to face drug trafficking charges. The US claims that Gary and his brothers Mark and Dwayne transported drugs into the US through Mexico between 1994 and 1997. Today Seawell appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith where the government was scheduled to present its arguments supporting extradition. But attorney Arthur Saldivar derailed that process by dropping a bombshell. He submits that none of the evidence sent by the US is admissible because there was no oath sworn by those giving depositions. Government’s counsel refuted that assertion, arguing that all the evidence has been properly authenticated, and there is no need for an oath where depositions are concerned. Today Saldivar explained his case outside the court after adjournment.


Arthur Saldivar, Attorney for Gary Seawell

“The main basis of the argument was that the documents presented were not what they purport to be because they did not bear an oath which is a requirement by law…to have the maker of the statement appreciate the fact that they are under a duty to tell the truth that it would not be properly characterized as depositions or affidavits.”



“You’ve handled other extradition matters.  What’s the significant difference between these documents and other documents you’ve handled in other extradition matters?”


Arthur Saldivar

Arthur Saldivar

“Well, the requirement must be fulfilled. The extradition does not negate the need for the documents to be what they are purported to be. The extradition process does not in any way allow for a laxness in the procedural requirements. And where a document is presented to the court it must be a judicial document, a document that the court is capable of examining. It was the requirement of the notary public receiving the information to establish on the face of the document that the person giving it appreciates the fact that they were under duty to tell the truth and if they gave willingly statements that were false, that they were susceptible to the penalty of perjury. Now, in none of the documents is this so articulated, so the court is left with a very dubious and ambiguous situation where they cannot determine with any certainty whether or not the persons who gave the statements, from the investigators on down, actually recognized the duty that they had to tell the truth.”


After hearing the arguments Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith announced that she would be handing down her ruling in writing on October twenty-first. If Saldivar’s argument prevails, the extradition case against Gary Seawell would be struck down. He would still be facing charges for the drugs and weapons found in his possession in 2010, but he would be able to secure bail for those offences.

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