By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
FIVE Haitian men were remanded to prison yesterday after denying responsibility and ownership of more than 100 kilos of cocaine discovered in the Southern Bahamas earlier in the week.
Fadius Augustin, 63, Pierre Liberal, 58, Walter Noel, 52, Anserne Joseph, 46 and Johnson Johnassaint, 43, stood before Magistrate Andrew Forbes facing four charges: possession of dangerous drugs with intent to supply, conspiracy to possess dangerous drugs with intent to supply, conspiracy to import dangerous drugs and importation of dangerous drugs.
Shortly after 7pm on the day in question, officers from the Drug Enforcement Unit - assisted by their international counterparts from the US Coast Guard and Drug Enforcement Administration - acted on a tip that led them to conduct a search of a Haitian freighter in Inagua.
The search resulted in the discovery of over 100 kilos of cocaine on board.
Five men, alleged crew members of the vessel, were taken into custody for questioning.
It is alleged that the five accused, being concerned together and with others between March 29 and April 6, did plot to smuggle cocaine into the Bahamas with intent to distribute.
It is further alleged that they were found in physical possession of the trafficked drugs on April 8.
All accused men, with the aid of a Creole interpreter, pleaded not guilty to the four criminal charges.
Magistrate Forbes informed them that they would stand trial on July 18.
He remanded them to the Department of Correctional Services without bail, which could be granted in the Supreme Court if they apply.
Supt Ercell Dorsett is prosecuting the case.
The accused men face a fine and/or seven years imprisonment if convicted at trial.