JDF soldiers charged in connection with drug bust in St. Elizabeth remanded

Attorney Peter Champagnie, who represents one of the two accused
The two Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldiers who were charged in connection with a major drug bust in Gutters, St. Elizabeth, two weeks ago, were remanded on Friday when they appeared before the St. Elizabeth Parish Court.
Thirty-nine year old Roan Mendez, of a Kingston 10 address, and 38 year old Robert Smith, who is from Balaclava in St. Elizabeth, are to return to court on November 23.
Bail proceedings started on Friday and will continue at the next court date.
"There are some critical bits of information that is still outstanding, or insofar as the prosecution's case is concerned, those are integral to the determination of bail and as a result of that, the matter has been postponed until the date that I just mentioned. In terms of the position of the two persons charged, Mr. Smith, for whom I appear continues in strong terms, to profess his innocence and Mr. Mendez, who is represented by Miss Samoy Campbell, is also taking the position that he is innocent, in a very strong term," Attorney Peter Champagnie told Radio Jamaica News
The JDF corporals are charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition; shooting with intent; possession of and dealing in ganja as well as taking steps preparatory to export ganja.
They were taken into custody on October 13, following a reported gun battle with the police who intercepted a JDF vehicle transporting ganja in Gutters.
The police say 1,535 pounds of ganja valued at $6.14 million was seized.
The JDF reported that it did not issue the weapons which were seized from the two soldiers.

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