Dominica: Venezuelans given lengthy jail sentences on drug charges


CMC – Five Venezuelan nationals were on Monday sentenced to a total of 38 years in jail after they pleaded guilty to the possession of and trafficking in cocaine.


The Venezuelans – Hector Louis Ramerez, 33, Daike Jose Herrera Ramerez, 19  and 27-year-olds Daniel Jose Rivas Herrera, Pedro Celestino Ramos, and Yhorbby Jose Rosario – appeared before Acting Chief Magistrate Gloria Augustus on charges also of making false declarations under the Customs Act.

They pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 18 years in jail to run concurrently with the drug trafficking and possession charges.

The Magistrate Court was told that the five men together had 5,361.4 grams of cocaine with an estimated street value of EC$143,407.80.

The men had arrived in Dominica from Barbados on August 20 and the prosecution said that based on intelligence were taken into custody and after an X-ray was done, the illegal substances were found in their stomachs.

They were then admitted to the hospital under police protection and given medication to pass the drugs.

Speaking through a Spanish interpreter, the men told the court that they were “kidnapped and threatened” if they did not follow instructions to induce the drugs with the final destination being the Dominican Republic.

Herrera told the court that five family members in Venezuela were “kidnapped as a group” by men wearing masks.

“We were fearful for our lives and family, we had a job to do so we did it,” he said.

The maximum penalty is EC$150,000 or based on the value three times the amount or whichever is more significant or 15 years in jail but not less than seven years.

The Venezuelans were not represented in court and the prosecution has also made an application for them to be deported after serving their sentences.

Meanwhile, five other Venezuelans who arrived here on August 21 from Barbados, have also been arrested and cocaine pellets totalling 6,489.2 grammes found in their stomachs.

The men appeared before Senior Magistrate Michael Laudat and pleaded guilty to possession, trafficking, and false declaration.

They will return to court on August 29, where the facts will be read and then they will be sentenced.

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