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Jun 6, 2005

Drug runner sentenced to 33 years in jail

Story PictureGeorge Herbert, the Belizean drug runner who was convicted late last year in a New York court, received his sentence on Friday: thirty-three years and four months. The sentencing of the thirty-one year old Herbert brings to a close one of the most successful U.S. prosecutions of foreign narco-traffickers. In addition to Herbert, the court had previously convicted his co-conspirator, Mexican Jorge Manuel Torres Teyer, and sentenced him to thirty-eight years behind bars. Belizean Liston McCord, who pled guilty in a plea bargain agreement, received the minimum ten-year sentence, presumably in exchange for providing information which helped convict Torres and Herbert. The two Belizeans were part of a multinational drug ring which brought tons of cocaine from Colombia, along the cost of Central America, into Calderitas in Mexico for shipment into the United Sates. Although they could have been legally detained and extradited from Belize at the request of the U.S. government, the Belize police instead kidnapped Herbert and McCord in April of 2003 and delivered them to a waiting D.E.A. jet at Philip Goldson International Airport. At the time, the D.E.A. and Belize police claimed that the two Belizeans boarded the plane voluntarily, but in a subsequent constitutional motion filed in the Supreme Court by Herbert’s family, Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh concluded that Herbert and McCord were in fact the target of a state sponsored kidnapping. The C.J. ordered Government to pay thirty-thousand dollars in damages plus five thousand in legal fees. This ruling had no effect on the U.S. court however. Herbert will be sixty-two years old when he completes his prison sentence in the year 2036.

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