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Antigua-Barbuda court fines South American drug traffickers over EC$385 million
Published on February 22, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- The director of the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) in Antigua and Barbuda, Lt Col. Edward Croft, has applauded a recent landmark decision by the High Court in its ruling on Wednesday February 12, 2014, against Eraquio Gonzalez, Pablo Gonzalez, Isidro Mata of Venezuela and Luis Mosequrea of Colombia.

The four men were arrested and charged by the ONDCP on July 21, 2010, for being in possession of 909.95 kg of cocaine.

Eraquio Gonzalez, the captain of the vessel used to transport the drugs, was convicted for possession of cocaine and drug trafficking and received a sentence of 14 years imprisonment and was fined EC$200,000 (US$74,000) and EC$385,675,920.18 (US$142.8 million) respectively.

Croft said, “The significance of a fine of over EC$385 million represents a historic decision in that I am not aware of anyone else receiving such a hefty but appropriate fine in the history of Antigua and Barbuda or the within the sub-region. This also sends the correct message to persons or groups who engage in illicit activity and wish to use Antigua and Barbuda.”

The other three defendants were convicted for possession of cocaine and were sentenced to four years imprisonment and a fine of EC$200,000. In lieu of the fine, each man will serve an additional year in prison if they fail to pay.

Consideration was given for time already spent in prison while the men were on remand; however, Eraquio’s sentences will run concurrently. The court also ordered the forfeiture of the vessel and the destruction of the drugs.
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