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May 14, 2019

1 Freed; 4 Get Reduced Charges in Blue Creek Drug Plane Trial

The sensational trial of five persons, two Mexican nationals and three Belizeans, accused with drug trafficking and the illegal landing of a drug plane in the Orange Walk District in September 2018, came up today in the Orange Walk Magistrate Court before Senior Magistrate Patricia Arana.  But there is a major development—one of the men was freed and the four others received reduced charges. The bust in Tres Leguas near Blue Creek was in the news for days because Orange Walk’s Commanding Officer, Superintendent David Chi and Police Constable Norman Anthony along with Mennonite Peter Friesen Junior were charged in connection to a drug plane carrying two hundred and twenty-six pounds of cocaine with a value of fourteen million dollars. Mexican nationals, Eli Figueroa Nunez and Azariaz Manzano, were also charged.  That plane landed on September eleventh and police were not too far away. As we said, they went to court expecting to receive outstanding disclosure, but charges were instead dropped from Friessen and the others received lesser charges. Attorney for Peter Friessen, Dickie Bradley, spoke with us by phone late this evening to say that while charges were reduced, the case will now be tried summarily in front of a Magistrate. Here’s how he explains it.

 

Dickie Bradley, Attorney for Peter Friessen

“The five persons who were charged in connection with the alleged landing of the plane with drugs last September, Peter Friessen walked out of court a free man. The other four persons, two Mexicans and two Belizeans they had their charges reduced to just conspirer. In the case of the Mexicans, they only have one charge in which that they helped – they conspired to help to land the plane. The two Belizeans have two charges. Mr. Friesen had given himself up. He was not located anywhere near the plane or anything like that. And he was probably the only one who gave a statement in the matter. The other thing that took place is that the Director of Public Prosecutions who appeared at the Senior Magistrate’s court, informed the court that the trial would not take place in the Supreme Court and the reduced charges will be tried right in the Orange Walk Magistrate Court as summary matters rather than indictable matters in front of a jury in front of the Supreme Court. So, there may very well be a strategy behind the move of the D.P.P. Mrs. Vidal to have the trial take place more expeditiously in a Magistrate Court.   As you know when the five persons first appeared, for security reasons they first appeared in the Belize City Magistrate Court and they were not called upon to plea. The magistrate at that time was informed that the reason for that is that the matter would be tried in the Supreme Court. But now that the investigation is completed and the disclosure has been made available and all documentation are in there would be some method to the D.P.P.’s approach towards what she informed the court today. So, basically that is the new approach. The matter will be tried summarily in front of a magistrate and the charges have been reduced in the case of all the accused persons. In the case of Peter Friessen, the D.P.P. informed him that the charges against him would not be pursued; they were being withdrawn by the prosecution.”

 

Bradley says that the D.P.P. told the court that the prosecution will now manage the case and that remaining disclosure of mostly photographs would be made available. The case was also move up to the earliest date available which is August twenty-ninth. The fourteen-million dollars worth of cocaine was destroyed last September.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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