Court orders forfeiture of assets worth millions belonging to convicted drug lord

Monday, August 20, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Supreme Court has ordered that millions of dollars in assets and properties belonging to Jamaican drug lord Norris 'Deedo' Nembhard should be forfeited to the government.

According to a release from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service this afternoon, the order was made following a legal battle with Nembhard over the properties.

Nembhard, who was initially sentenced to 13 years in prison on drug charges, spent nine years in a Florida penal facility and was released in 2015.

See release in full:

The Assets Recovery Agency was today successful in resisting an application made by Mr Norris Nembhard to set aside a default judgment that was entered against him in August 2016.

The default judgment arose from a civil recovery claim brought by the Agency in 2011, in which the Agency sought the recovery of several real properties and motor vehicles which were alleged to have been purchased from the proceeds Mr Nembhard's drug trafficking.

Mr Nembhard had been arrested in the year 2004 and extradited to the United States of America to face an indictment which charged him with the offence of conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 1000 kilograms of marijuana, knowing and intending it to be unlawfully imported into the United States.

Mr Nembhard subsequently pleaded guilty to the abovementioned offence and was sentenced in 2009 to 156 months imprisonment.

After approximately five years, Mr Nembhard failed to file a defence to the civil recovery claim and default judgment was entered against him by the Supreme Court for this failure.
An application was then filed by Mr Nembhard to set aside the default judgment that had been entered. This application was heard by the Supreme Court today.

In refusing the application, the court noted that the five-year delay was exceptional and that Mr Nembhard had provided no evidence to account for this delay. The court further found that Mr Nembhard did not show that he had a real prospect of successfully defending the claim.

The effect of this decision is that the default judgment that was entered in favour of the Agency stands. The judgment vests five of Mr Nembhards's real properties located in St Ann to the Crown - with the proceeds of same to be paid to the Agency - and vests 11 of Mr, Nemhard's motor vehicles - which include a Mercedes Benz and several motor trucks/tractors - in the Agency.

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