THE 15 Indian nationals who were arrested last month when the Coast Guard intercepted a foreign tanker and seized nearly 400 kilogrammes of cocaine, were on Wednesday taken to various health centres where they were swabbed for covid19.
On Tuesday, police were ordered to release the men after investigators met with the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Also released on Tuesday was a Turkish national. The captain of the tanker, one Turkish national, and another Indian national are still in police custody.
Newsday understands that the group of Indian nationals was tested for covid19 in keeping with protocols for persons entering the country.
On Thursday, investigators are expected to take the 15 to India’s High Commission to TT at Victoria Avenue, Port of Spain. The men are hoping the Embassy can assist them with their repatriation to India.
Newsday also understands that the group will be visited by immigration officers who will stamp them as having “landed” in TT. They will not be sent to the Immigration Detention Centre.
The men were arrested on April 28, onboard the tanker Throne, off the north coast of Trinidad. A search by the coastguardsmen led to the discovery of the 400 kilogrammes of cocaine hidden in the vessel’s fuel tanks. The cocaine had an estimated street value of $160 million.
On Tuesday, the DPP advised the police to release the men after their attorneys Wayne Sturge, Mario Merritt, Karunaa Bisramsingh and Manuela Hospedales, wrote to the Police Commissioner on Sunday, threatening legal action if they could not justify the detention of the Indian nationals beyond 48 hours.
Their attorneys said the men had no money since they had not been paid their salaries.