Young man faces 6 months for money laundering, drugs

Sint Maarten Courthouse

By Today Newspaper

GREAT BAY – Prosecutor Martin van Nes demanded 6 months of imprisonment yesterday morning against Angel Miguel R. for money laundering and the possession of a small amount of crack. Judge Elisa Angela will pronounce her verdict on June 15.

The case against the 23-year old defendant unfolded on July 29 of last year when police spotted two cars and a skeleton scooter circulating through the center of Philipsburg. Law enforcement was on high alert because of a recent spate of armed robberies of which the worst was still to come six days later when Ridge Damisse fatally shot police officer Gamali Benjamin during a robbery at the Oro Diamanté jewelry store.

When police gave one of the cars a stop sign, the driver took off but finally got arrested after he rammed into a taxi.

The driver, Shawn B., told police that friends had called him about committing a robbery.

The police had in the meantime locked down the city center and when they received a report that the driver of the skeleton scooter attempted to flee they went after him. The driver lost control, fell and was arrested. He turned out to be the brother of Angel R. In his possession he had tools of the robbery trade – a small machete and a hammer.

Detectives did a search at this man’s house and when they did not find anything in his bedroom they asked the judge of instruction permission for an extensive search.

Permission given, the officers found close to $3,500 spread across the weirdest places (like the hoodie of a jacket) in Angel R.’s bedroom. They also found 11.7 grams of crack, divided in close to sixty rocks.

Furthermore the officers uncovered two notebooks containing what looked like an administration – names, numbers and calculations.

Angel R. was arrested and spent nine days in custody.

Prosecutor Van Nes asked the court to sentence the defendant for both charges. “The drugs were found in his room and he does not have a plausible explanation. He say the drugs do not belong to him but it looks like he is dealing hard drugs.”

The prosecutor asked the court to take the drugs out of circulation and to confiscate the money.

Attorney Safira Ibrahim told the court that the money consisted partially of savings and partially of money his mother gave him. “My client lives in this house with his mother and brother and previously he had a girlfriend. People are walking in and out of that house. The prosecution cannot conclude just like that, that the drugs belonged to him.”

“I worked hard for that money and I never sold drugs,” R. said in his last word.