Bail hearing adjourned for Latvian, airport security on drug charges

A Latvian man and a female security guard attached to the Norman Manley International Airport, who are jointly charged in connection with a suspected drug trafficking ring operating from the airport, had their bail hearing adjourned until March 23.

It is expected that at that time, the investigating officer will verify their addresses.

Rihards Upenieks, 30, and Terica Millwood, 32, were both arrested on March 10 at the airport after being found in possession of cocaine.

READ: Latvian, Jamaica security guard slapped with drug charges

The cocaine was valued at 4.4 kilograms with a street value of US$3,800. The court was told that if the item was transported to England, which was where Upenieks was scheduled to travel to, it would then be valued at $70,000 per kilogram, totalling approximately US$300,000.

Upenieks is represented by defence counsels Peter Champagnie, KC, Richard Lynch and Ragene Williams. He is a software customer service representative from Riga, Latvia.

Millwood, on the other hand, is represented by defence counsel Alexander Shaw.

Both were subsequently charged with conspiracy to export cocaine, and Upenieks was charged with the additional offences of possession of, dealing in and attempting to export cocaine.

During the bail application in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on Tuesday, Champagnie told the court that based on the nature of Upenieks occupation, he works remotely. As such, the attorney said his client travels to warmer climates during the frigid winter months.

"We want to urge the court to consider bail for him," Champagnie said.

It was also revealed that when it was time for Upenieks to leave the island, he purchased liquor from a store in New Kingston, brought the receipt to the airport and was given the product when he was about to check-in.

OBSERVER ONLINE understands that Upenieks checked in at Norman Manley International Airport to board a United Kingdom-bound flight when he was stopped and searched.

Champagnie said during his arrest, Upenieks said "they must've given him the wrong package," and "I only see these kinds of things in movies."

The attorney also said that Upenieks was originally questioned as a witness, then later arrested and charged.

Investigators believed that Millwood conspired with Upenieks in an attempt to facilitate the smuggling of the cocaine through the airport.

Champagnie, in his bid for his client to be offered bail, told Parish Judge Venise Blackstock-Murray that his client's wife, who resides in Texas and was in court, procured a rental residence for him to stay if he was granted bail.

A receipt detailing the rental deposit was presented to the court.

Meanwhile, Shaw told the court that Millwood is a mother of two, who has been stationed at the airport for seven years. The attorney said his client does not know Upenieks and has no prior convictions.

Additionally, Shaw stated that due to her arrest, her children were adversely affected. He went further to say that her 13-year-old daughter has been "crying every day since her arrest."

"She looks forward to the day she can ventilate her case, " Shaw said.

The crown informed the judge that she doesn't oppose bail for both accused persons, however, "strict conditions" can be imposed.

It was revealed that the forensic certificate, corroborating officer's statement and the Communication Forensic & Cyber Crime Division report is outstanding.


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