Mexican man pleads guilty to drug trafficking Print E-mail
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Thursday, 10 November 2011 00:00

FernandoAfter more than three weeks behind bars, a Mexican national who was busted with controlled drugs appeared in Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday November 8th where he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty of drug trafficking.

On Tuesday, October 11th, whilst at the Phillip Goldson International Airport, 28- year-old Fernando Jonathan Sanchez Ramirez, a Mexican national originally from Mexico City was found in possession of  1.6 grams of crack cocaine.  He was additionally charged with one count of possession of a controlled drug after authorities claim he was also found in possession of 5.3 grams of cannabis.   The items were found in luggage that he was carrying.  On that day, Ramirez had just exited a flight that originated from El Salvador.

When he appeared in Magistrate’s court he changed his not guilty plea to guilty and was imposed a non-custodial sentence where he was fined $10,000.00 plus a $5.00 cost of court which he had to pay forthwith in default 3 years imprisonment. By 4:00p.m. on Tuesday evening, Ramirez with the assistances of a personnel of the Mexican Embassy was able to pay his fine and was rushed into a taxi where he was taken to the PGIA enroute to his home in Mexico.   During his ordeal, Ramirez had his girlfriend, a Cuban brought into Belize to assist him.

On October 13th, Ramirez first appeared before Magistrate Albert Hoare in Court #5 where he pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking, but guilty to possession as he claimed the crack cocaine and weed he had was for his consumption and not for sale to anyone.   When checks were made with the DPP’s office, his guilty plea for possession and not drug trafficking was rejected and the court remanded him into custody at the Belize Central Prison until October 17th where he was scheduled to reappear in court for his trial for drug trafficking.  Bail was denied since he was not a Belizean and he was considered to be a flight risk.

On October 17th on his second appearance, Ramirez had retained the services of a local attorney but was confused on how he wanted to plea as his guilty plea for possession had already been rejected by the DPP’s office.   Unable to make up his mind if he wanted to take the rap for drug trafficking, he was further remanded to the Belize Central Prison until Tuesday’s date.  Ramirez was unrepresented in court when he changed his plea to guilty.  Since he was a first time offender of the crime, Magistrate Albert Hoare imposed only a fine because he saved the court time and he begged for leniency.  The possession of a control drug charge was withdrawn by the prosecution since both charges arise from the same incident.