Salvadoran Man Busted with 85 Pounds of Weed Print E-mail
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Thursday, 22 August 2013 00:00

Jeremias PichinteOfficers of the Gang Suppression Unit executed a search of #5 Princess Margaret Drive early on Friday morning, August 16th, at 1 a.m. Upon their arrival at the residence, Corporal Mark Martinez knocked on the gate but got no reply. They then entered the yard and went to the second floor of the building. The officers knocked on the door of 44-year-old Jeremias Pichinte, Salvadoran with permanent residence status. They got no answer but the door was open and the officers entered to execute a search for drugs and ammunition. That was when they found Pichinte holding a black plastic bag in his hand. Pichente ran and threw the black plastic bag over the fence of an adjacent yard. According to Cpl. Martinez, he chased and detained the man then took him to retrieve the bag and open it in his presence. The bag contained a green leafy substances suspected to be cannabis. Inside the house, the officers found a second black plastic bag which contained a green leafy substance. Pichinte and the two bags were escorted to the Queen Street Police Station where both bags were weighed in his presence. The first bag contained 33 ½ pounds of cannabis while the second bag contained 52 pounds of cannabis. Pichinte was charged with drug trafficking.

He appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court later that day where he answered to two counts of drug trafficking. Magistrate Clive Lino provided a translator for Pinchite since he speaks little English. After the facts of the case were read out to him, Pichinte agreed and pleaded guilty to the charges. He told Magistrate Lino that while he took ownership alone for the weed, at no time did he have any bag in his hand. There was also a warrant out for the arrest of his common-law-wife Veronica Garcia who police say was present at the time of the search. Pichinte told Magistrate Lino, “My wife was not on the premises at the time of the search.  She was not even anywhere near, and I am pleading guilty.”

Magistrate Lino accepted Pichinte’s guilty plea and fined him $10,000 plus $5 cost of court for each count. He also imposed a jail term of three years for each count to run concurrently. Pichinte must also pay his fine by November 16th of this year or serve an additional three years in prison.

The prosecutor, Cpl. Muchamp, was asked what will happen to Veronica Garcia. Muschamp said he is awaiting the instructions of the DPP in whether to proceed with prosecution or not. Garcia has not yet been arrested and charged.