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Jul 27, 2004

Hertular pleads not guilty on U.S. drug rap

He may not hold the office of Solicitor General, but another well-known Belizean has gone before a U.S. court. Robert Hertular, extradited last week to New York on drug charges, made his first court appearance on Monday before U.S. magistrate, Judge Theodore Katz. Hertular pleaded not guilty and Katz ordered him held without bail pending a future hearing. According to U.S. press accounts, the indictment against Hertular alleges that he admitted to Belizean authorities that he coordinated five major shipments through Belize, each containing over a ton of cocaine. The shipments were allegedly made at the behest of Carlos Costano. Costano is described as a Colombian, who heads a right wing paramilitary group in that country. Hertular is also accused of threatening the life of a DEA agent, allegedly by offering to supply an informant with a hand grenade and other weapons. If convicted on all charges, Hertular faces a minimum of ten years and a maximum of life in prison.

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