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Wednesday 21 November 2018
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Venezuelan loses extradition challenge

 PHOTO BY ROGER JACOB.
PHOTO BY ROGER JACOB.

A VENEZUELAN man who is wanted in the United States on drug-trafficking charges has lost his challenge of his extradition.

Eduardo Gregorio Azocar was committed to custody to await extradition to the US by acting Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle on March 1.

Azocar’s attorneys Keith Scotland and Asha Watkins-Montserin filed a writ of habeas corpus in the High Court challenging the magistrate’s order.

A previous application was dismissed by Justice Avason Quinlan-Williams for delay, but Azocar appealed and he was allowed to file a fresh application.

The new application was heard by Justice Nadia Kangaloo, who yesterday dismissed it.

In her ruling, Kangaloo said the magistrate was correct in her decision to commit him to await extradition.

Azocar’s attorneys have already signalled their intention to appeal.

Azocar is wanted for attempting to distribute a quantity of a mixture of substances containing a detectable amount of cocaine in 2015.

The acting chief magistrate issued a provisional warrant on June 16, 2016, and he was arrested by police the next day.

According to the evidence, it was alleged that Azocar sold to an undercover agent a quantity of cocaine at US$22,500 and offered to import a quantity of the drugs at US$4,500 a kilogramme.

It was further alleged that he indicated he would invest in a quantity of cocaine to be sold in Philadelphia at US$35,000 per kilogram.

In challenging his extradition, Azocar’s attorneys argued there was no evidence of an alleged plan involving him to import cocaine into the US nor evidence that drugs were actually imported into that country.

They further contended that according to the case of the US, as presented at the extradition proceedings, the offences alleged took place in Trinidad and that the proper forum for Azocar to be tried was locally and not in the US.

In her ruling, Kangaloo said the allegations of Azocar was not demonstrated in his application nor was there was evidence of entrapment or dual criminality as there was no conflict between the charges in the US and those for which he was committed.

The case for the US, was advanced by Pamela Elder, SC, Ravi Rajcoomar, Netram Kowlessar, Graeme McClean and Varuna Chattoo.

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