Venezuelans on trial for obstruction under the Drug Act

The trial of nine Venezuelan men, charged with obstruction under the Drug Act, begun yesterday at the Roseau Magistrate’s Court.

The men had been remanded after they were apprehended in a boat just 11 miles off the coast of Roseau on January 10.

Corporal Francis, the officer in charge of the Coast Guard vessel at the time of the incident, told the court that the officers had received a report and at about 8:30 p.m. on January 10, 2010 they encountered the 35-foot long Venezuelan pirogue just 11 miles off the coast of Roseau, heading to Dominica.

“When I turned on the light on my patrol boat and shouted [Stop Coast Guard!] the vessel immediately turned southwest and increased her speed. I lost visual contact then, but I could observe the fleeing vessel on radar and night vision equipment… I started pursuing the unidentified vessel at this point. I pursued her for about an hour and a half on a 30-mile chase,” the officer told the court.

Corporal Francis said during the pursuit he used a thermal camera and could identify personnel on the boat fleeing the vessel and throwing things into the water.

“It looked like packages,” he told the court.

He then instructed his gunner to fire warning shots hoping that the vessel would stop, but it continued. The man was then identified to ‘fire in’ on the boat, which he did.

“I noticed at least one engine got hit, sparks, and the vessel stopped. As I approached the vessel, I immediately identified two men crouched close to the engines, one of them I identified immediately. He was holding his left shoulder with his right hand and appeared to be bleeding…” Francis said.

Through further inspection, Francis said that he was able to see that there were six 75 horse power engines behind the boat, a large quantity of 55 gallon blue fuel containers and several other men crouching inside the boat. According to the officer, he observed a total of nine occupants in the vessel.

After summoning another coast guard vessel named Tomice Two, Francis along with its captain Corporal Robin, drove the Venezuelan boat to the Coast Guard base.

Francis then examined the injured man and sent him to the Princess Margaret Hospital.

“Whilst on the base, in the presence of the defendants, I searched the vessel. Nothing liable to seizure was found. No identification was found. Only a magnetic compass was found… There was lots of food, extra clothing…” Through an interpreter, the men were informed of their offenses and charged. When questioned about throwing objects into the sea, they replied “we didn’t throw anything.”

When asked who was the captain of the vessel the men answered, “We all are.”

Francis informed the court, they were not able to retrieve any packages. He explained to the court that his night vision and equipment and thermal camera did not allow him to see the special features of the packages, hence he wasn’t able to give a definite identification of them.

Under cross examination defense lawyer Peter Alleyne asked Corporal Francis whether the police had gone in search of the said packages; however, Francis said they had not and explained that he was not certain about the location that the packages had been dropped.

The trial was adjourned to February 11, 2010. The defendants will remain remanded until then.

Copyright 2012 Dominica News Online, DURAVISION INC. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

Disclaimer: The comments posted do not necessarily reflect the views of and its parent company or any individual staff member. All comments are posted subject to approval by We never censor based on political or ideological points of view, but we do try to maintain a sensible balance between free speech and responsible moderating.

We will delete comments that:

  • contain any material which violates or infringes the rights of any person, are defamatory or harassing or are purely ad hominem attacks
  • a reasonable person would consider abusive or profane
  • contain material which violates or encourages others to violate any applicable law
  • promote prejudice or prejudicial hatred of any kind
  • refer to people arrested or charged with a crime as though they had been found guilty
  • contain links to "chain letters", pornographic or obscene movies or graphic images
  • are off-topic and/or excessively long

See our full comment/user policy/agreement.


  1. Karkabeff
    January 28, 2010

    Wrong is wrong. I don’t care what these criminals are charged for as long as they are prosecuted. Hopefully, the captured boat can be restored and converted for use by the police as they fight drug traffickers in our territorial waters. Good job officers and stay focused.
    According to one blogger on here: May the spirit of our ancestors be pleased

  2. nectar
    January 28, 2010

    Come on people be realistic. The only charge that can be held against these guys is trespassing and they could easily say that they ventured in our waters accidentally as they did not have any advanced navigations systems on board. There is no evidence of illegal activities because none was found. so is best they just let them go.

    Besides word on the street is that local fellas already retrieved half of the packages so the Police can Kiss the Evidence Goodbye.
    So look out for some Brand New Bikes on the road and maybe a new X5 too. .lol.


  3. d/can for life
    January 28, 2010

    viellecase itassian tho you a partially correct i think you’re making excuses.i thought that coast guard vessels was equiped with all the lastest that what we were told when it was new aquired?itassian what is the GPS navigational aid on the vessel for?they could have simply pass on that info to the other vessel and called out to assist.its true depending on the time that vessel takes to get to the location currents could have shifted.come on dem guys are not gonna leave all the way from venezuela to dominica with 2 little packages.10 men on one boat.them guys were moving a serious shippment.anyways i think those guys we’ll be set free like the first set.

    i wonder why they haven’t said anything about the other venezuelan they catch at melvillhall airport last week with about 7 kilos of cocaine and a large sum of money that sources say could easily run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.maybe that is part of the MOU to free up them venzuelans when they get caught here cuz is the same drugs money that has to make its way back to us.

  4. had cour da
    January 27, 2010

    after the police manage to stop the boat and retaining to base,
    why they didn’t past the same rout? remember they call for assistance, for what resin?
    common officer complete your investigation.

  5. BMS
    January 27, 2010

    Just watch them fly back to their home land freemen, remember is Venezuela that keeping Dominica going with all that aid they giving them , who knows where the money coming from ,and doing any thing to them is like biting the hand that feed you

  6. domininican to the bone
    January 27, 2010

    put them in prison for trespassing our water

  7. Neg Bawie
    January 27, 2010

    @ Vieille Case Itassian:

    You said it all!!

  8. W. Wansborough
    January 27, 2010

    Maybe the police need to patrol in pairs. If it was a pair of patrol boats, one could continue the chase while the other searched for packages in the water.

    I think the suspects could have got away if the police had diverted to search for packages. I wasn’t there, but it could be that because it is one police boat the officers had to make a decision to either go for the suspects themselves or the packages. It was difficult to have both.

  9. ATL
    January 27, 2010

    De Police dem did a good job,under speed how could they stop nuh? de only thing my Brother is next time make sure is drugs, and !!!!!!!!!!!!! dead man tell no story. if they did not hole dem allu would talk hole dem allu still talking, Dominicans boy well papa some of us eh. So next time get them, and make sure is not our local fisherman dem doing the right thing. I bet if they had the resource my boy they would kill allu dump allu and take de boat. You see wa i mean now they making allu look bad. Negg papa.

  10. My Goodness
    January 27, 2010

    Leave them am alone. Is them man that have some money flowing in DA. Nuff DA man tag up with them man doing business in Gwada and SM. If it was not for them most ppl in DA broke trust me
    Them drugs are ot destined for DA and we all know that

  11. Vieille Case Itassian
    January 27, 2010

    Chamer and Lawrence,

    I think both of your sense of reasoning is flawed rather than that of the police. Charmer you call the police foolish because they said they could not exactly tell where the packages had been dropped. Did you read the police’ s statement?

    I need to bring to your attention some of the circumstances surrounding the incidence to show you the futility of identifying the exact location of the dropped packages and of collecting the evidence.
    1) It was night(not day) so it musthave been dark
    2)They had to use night vision and radar to see and follow the boat
    3) They had to use thermal camera( not digital) to see what acording to them “looked like packages”
    4)They pursued the boat at high speed (not cruising speed) for half an hour for 30 miles(not 3 miles)
    5) The chase was on sea (not land) – You drop something on land it will stay where-ever it stopped- You drop something in the sea and who know where it ends up with bthe currents and the force of gravity? Just somethings for you to think about.

    Chamer and Lawrence,

    Under the circumstances, what do you think was the greater priority, identifying the exact location and retrieval of the dropped packages or apprehending the culprits?

    Chamer , how do you suggest the police should mark the exact location? Maybe they could have planted a stick or used police barricade tape or maybe they should have had a police officer jump into the water where the packages were dropped and then they pick him up later after the chase-

    How foolish and futile these would have been. No wonder as you indicated, you have no subjects because you are a bloody fool trying to make yourself pass as wise.. The police service would be doing a great disservice to the country to have you among those officers who risk their lives chasing offenders at high speed in the dark of night.
    Since you speak so much faster than you think, you would be better off finding a job outside the police force because your sense of reasoning clearly indicate that you would not be police material.

    I commend the police on their efforts.

  12. truth
    January 27, 2010

    police do ur jobs right u cant charge someone for nothing u didnt hold them with the first thing u said was drug trafficking why u didnt said gun trafficking or something else wil and come again

  13. weh weh weh
    January 27, 2010

    alas so we come……if it was weed, whole of drug squard on the case..seems like is weed alone they train to handle. if it was a coconut a padna took to satisfy his hunger, they coming by van load…last time they caught them with the money n they were releasted….right now there is NO evidence…what do you all realy think is goin to be the verdict???????????….WEH WEH WEH….so we come..

  14. belbagay
    January 27, 2010

    Chamer, cnat believe your comment, it was a night chase in a wide space of water, what sense would it make for the police to go in search of what was thrown out, our police need to deal with these drug lords once and for all even if it is to shoot to kill them at sea ..

  15. Karkabeff
    January 27, 2010

    Some people really speak without thinking. The officers using night vision to chase a vessel at sea at high speed and we expect them to stop and pick up or track where packages were dropped overboard?
    Give me a flipping break. I hope the magistrate put them away for good. Them venezuelans just think because daddy Chavez giving us their tax money they can come and drop their drugs on our shores. Ebeh…hell to the NO! Good job officers. Daycarlay them with bullets. Law and order must be maintained at all cost.

  16. CHAMER
    January 27, 2010

    if u saw them throwing packages overboard u shold have marked the location. its folish to saw u cant tell exactly where so u never went in search. i bett u these men knows exactly where if at all theysent stuff overboard.anyway i hope that our officers will begin doing a better job this year. by the way i want to join the force to make a diffrence but i do not av any subjects but am sure that i have what it take to do a better job than most of those that do have subjects because a few of them are just there for the cash … will i be accepted? just checking

  17. January 27, 2010

    The police did their job , but the higher powers have them to cover up!

  18. Young Man in Dominica
    January 27, 2010

    lol to Lawrence if it was weed a local man had they would take pleasure in beating him and bring his to justice our police officers in dominica needs to just wheel and come again..

  19. Watch
    January 27, 2010

    throw them man in prison for

    1. obstruction of justice
    2. resisting arrest
    3. being in dominican territorial water with no identification..

  20. It is time
    January 27, 2010

    It is time that some serious and drastic measures are taken about the drug trafficking through Dominica.
    The Venezuelans are here in full force.
    As I understand….the dedicated police officers are fed up of not being allowed to do their jobs efficiently.

    They are here in town, around, in the bars and pubs and garage, drinking happily, before they move out on a run…….they befriend some of the smaller local drug guys to help them on the ground.
    The recent triple murder….all connected……..
    I hope they put them in jail and throw away the key.
    Congratulations to the Coast Guard officers, keep it up guys.
    Give the Venezuelan .. the maximum penalty.
    It is time!!!

  21. Me
    January 27, 2010

    Remember the first case of the venezuelans, i am listening, eants to see what is goin to be the verdict,.

  22. Lawrence
    January 27, 2010

    It is quite ironic to charge men under the Drug act when in the police statement he clearly said that nothing else was not found other than a raider. I think the police in Dominica is very weak, and its high time that police officers present themselves as law enforcement officers rather than men who are still enslaved by their own flaws in presenting their case.
    You persue the vessel, you saw packages being frown over-board, not one package but a few according to your report, and in your persuit, not one of them was discovered which would be your exhibit for the main witness.

    Awa we garcon , I am not impressed by police evidences in most cases I have listened too, Maybe the authorities need to have more interactive sessions with the police and the public, because maybe the police would be reduced to an ordinary citizen,while a few members of the public will replace the police.

    Take the department to the next level brothers in 2010. Too many cases are handled in a vikiviy manners and force them to be thrown out of court. This is my sincere plea.


  23. Young Man in Dominica
    January 27, 2010

    Easy case to win by the Venezuelans no evidence and pour investigating

  24. Mary
    January 27, 2010

    Less drugs on the street, it is under the sea

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

:) :-D :wink: :( 8-O :lol: :-| :cry: 8) :-? :-P :-x :?: :oops: :twisted: :mrgreen: more »

 characters available