Charges withdrew against Venezuelans – captain fined $ 25,000 to be paid forthwith
All the five charges that were brought against the ten (10) Venezuelans who were intercepted in Dominica’s territorial waters on March 21st, 2011 under the Drug Prevention and Misuse Act and the Customs Act, were withdrawn at the Roseau Magistrate’s Court, today.
After almost an hour of deliberation, between Magistrate Candia George, the Director of Public Prosecution and defense lawyer Zena Dyer, only one charge was brought against the captain Jose Luis Silva Hernandez, for failing to stop the vessel when ordered to do so.
Hernandez, who pleaded guilty to the charge which was re-read to him, was fined $25,000 to be paid forthwith in default six months in prison.
The ten (10) Venezuelans who were intercepted in Dominica’s territorial waters on March 21st, 2011 claim that they were only searching for their friends missing vessel.
This information surfaced when the investigating officer Corporal F. Thomas concluded his three-day testimony at the Roseau High Court, yesterday.
While recalling the circumstances leading to the men’s arrest, he said that when he inquired about their reason for being in Dominica’s territorial waters, the captain Jose Luis Silva Hernandez responded by saying that they were in search their friend’s vessel when they received a call from Venezuela saying that the vessel was in Martinique waters and that they had to move closer to shore in order to see it.
The men who were allegedly seen throwing certain objects into the sea after being spotted by the coast guard said that they were only throwing away trash during which the captain accidentally threw his cell phone overboard.