$800,000 bail for soldiers on ganja charges

$800,000 bail for soldiers on ganja charges

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

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SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — Two Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldiers charged last month with illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, shooting with intent, possession of and dealing in ganja, and taking steps preparatory to export ganja, were offered bail in the sum of $800,000 each when they appeared in the St Elizabeth Parish Court yesterday.

The soldiers, 38-year-old Robert Smith and 39-year-old Roan Mendez, are to reappear in court on January 12, 2021.

Queen's Counsel Peter Champagnie, who represents Smith, told the Jamaica Observer that his client and Mendez were offered bail with reporting conditions and stop orders imposed.

They were arrested following a joint police/military operation that the police said resulted in $6 million worth of ganja seized on October 13 in Gutters, St Elizabeth.

Attorney Samoi Campbell is representing Mendez.

According to the police, about 9:30 pm a team comprising members of the Narcotics Division and the Westmoreland Division, assisted by members of the JDF, attempted to intercept a minivan in the area. However, the occupants of the vehicle reportedly fired upon the team, discarding packages as they fled.

The vehicle was eventually intercepted and two men — who were later confirmed to be members of the JDF — were arrested. The ganja and the vehicle the men were travelling in were seized. The vehicle is the property of the JDF.

— Kasey Williams

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