Latvian freed of drug charges in Jamaica
Latvian national Rihard Upeniks was on Tuesday freed of all drug charges when he appeared in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.
Upeniks was charged with conspiracy, possession, dealing and attempting to export cocaine arising from an arrest on March 10, 2023.
Allegations were that, based on intelligence, Upeniks was under police surveillance at the Norman Manley International Airport moments before boarding his flight to London.
The surveillance revealed that just before being accosted by the police, he received a package from an in-bond store sales agent. Upon being searched, it was discovered that parcels of cocaine were found hidden in the parcels disguised as Jamaican rum.
When confronted by the police with the discovery of the cocaine in the package, Upeniks denied knowing about the drugs. Further investigation revealed he had purchased the rum from the in-bond store to take with him, and he supplied the receipt for the purchase.
The surveillance did not reveal any opportunity for Upeniks to tamper with the package or cause a switch.
At the time of the arrest and subsequent bail application, his attorneys, King’s Counsel Peter Champagnie and Richard Lynch, argued that the prosecution case could not succeed.
Upeniks was charged with Trisha Millwood, a security checkpoint officer at the airport, who it is said, at the time of the incident, did not properly inspect the package when it went on the x-ray ramp.
Upeniks had been on bail since March 2023 and had been restricted from returning to his native land until the completion of the matter.
However, on Tuesday, the prosecutors conceded that based on the evidence in their possession, they could not mount a viable prosecution against either accused persons, so they were discharged.