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Sunday 25 August 2019
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V’zuelan wanted in the US for drug trafficking loses extradition challenge

AFTER two failed attempts to get the High Court to issue a writ of habeas corpus, the way has now been cleared for a Venezuelan man to be extradited to the United States where he is wanted on drug-trafficking charges.

Eduardo Gregorio Azocar was challenging, since 2018, his extradition to the US after he was committed to custody to await extradition to the US by Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle on March 1, last year.

He filed two applications for writs of habeas corpus – both of which were dismissed – and his two appeals were also unsuccessful.

When the matter came up before Appeal Court judge, Justice Alice Yorke-Soo Hon on Monday, the attorneys who represented Azocar said they had no instructions from him for them to pursue the latest appeal of Justice Nadia Kangaloo’s decision not to issue the writ.

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

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

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

The 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, Keith Scotland and Asha Watkins-Montserin, 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 were not demonstrated in his application nor was there 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 Ravi Rajcoomar, Netram Kowlessar, Graeme McClean and Varuna Chattoo.

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