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Seven charged in $100m ganja bust granted bail

Published:Wednesday | October 12, 2022 | 12:06 AMOlivia Brown/Gleaner Writer

Seven persons who were charged in connection with a $100-million ganja bust in Clarendon were granted bail when they appeared before the Clarendon Parish Court on Monday.

The seven – six men and one woman – were taken into custody after the police intercepted a convoy of three motor vehicles in Clarendon Park on September 21.

The charges were laid on September 26, after the accused were interviewed in the presence of their attorneys. They were denied bail when they appeared in court on September 29.

Among the accused is Garrie Rogers, 43, a taxi operator, who is charged with possession of, dealing in, trafficking and taking steps to export ganja. Rogers was granted bail in the sum of $800,00 with one or two sureties.

Rogers, who is of a Mountainside district address in St Elizabeth, is to report to the Black River Police Station on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Presiding judge Justice M. Roper ordered that Rogers is not to be seen in the parish of Manchester, save and except en route to court in May Pen.

The others facing charges of dealing in and trafficking ganja are George Richards, a 38-year-old fish vendor of Manchioneal, Portland; Emmert Saunds, a 32-year-old taxi operator of Scotts Run, Portland; Marvin Watson, a 42-year-technician, also of Scotts Run, Portland; Barrington Gayle, 45, a fisherman of Manchioneal, Portland; Sidney Stevens, 42, a fisherman of Old Harbour, St Catherine; Carol Kelson, Marvin Watson’s 54-year-old common-law wife, a farmer of Rowlands Fields, St Thomas.

The other co-accused, with the exception of Stevens, were granted bail in the sum of $500,000 with one or two sureties and are to report to the Manchioneal Police Station on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Stevens was granted bail in the sum of $500,000 with one or two sureties and is to report to the Old Harbour Bay Police Station on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The accused are to surrender their travel documents.

At their first court appearance, Justice Roper ruled that the application for bail was premature, pending verification of addresses as well as fingerprint, forensic and antecedent reports.

The court heard on Monday that all addresses had been verified, but other files were still outstanding. The judge expressed concerns about the likelihood of the accused reappearing in court, given that they all reside outside the parish.

Courtney Rowe, the attorney representing Gayle, Saunds, Stevens and Watson, assured that the accused would return to court as instructed.

‘’I have spoken with each individual’s family members and transportation will be made for them. Some of them family members drove from their far parishes and are here this morning, so I’m sure they will ensure that they are here. They have no desire to not be here,’’ Rowe said.

In response, the judge said, “Once I’m satisfied that the likelihood of them appearing for their trial has been satisfied, then conditions can be put in place, once I’m minded to grant bail. The offences, as the Crown has pointed out, are serious. I’ve looked at the nature of the offence, especially against one of the accused, Garrie Rogers, who has five counts against his name.”

They are to return to court on November 21.

olivia.brown@gleanerjm.com