Draco case suspect’s detention extended by eight days

In photo you can see when Lionel Jermaine Joseph on Friday April 12, entering the courthouse to see the judge of instruction.


PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The only suspect so far in the codenamed “Draco” case will have to spend eight more days in detention as investigators continue to comb through information to make their case.

The investigating judge on Friday agreed with the prosecutor’s request for an extension of Lionel Jermain Joseph detention. The prolongation is to allow continued questioning of the suspect.

Attorney Cor Merx

Joseph’s lawyer Cor Merx has confirmed our newsroom that the investigating judge found this arrest and house search was carried out in accordance with the law.

In the ‘Draco’ investigation, two house searches were conducted in St. Maarten by the Anti-corruption Taskforce (TBO) on Tuesday, April 9, and Wednesday, April 10, under supervision of the Examining Judge. The searches were conducted in a home in Cupecoy and at an accounting firm in Cole Bay.

In the same investigation, bank accounts, vehicles, expensive jewelry, real estate and firearms were seized simultaneously in Sint Maarten and in Romania. There were also two house-searches in Romania at the request of the Prosecutor’s Office. The Prosecutor’s Office and TBO have worked closely with the Prosecutor’s Office in Romania and the National Anti-Corruption Service (DNA) of that country.

There is a suspicion that suspects in the “Draco” investigation have diverted criminal assets from St. Maarten to Romania, among other things, by investing in real estate there.

On 10 April, L.J.J.  (38, born in Sint Maarten) was also arrested in Sint Maarten.  He is suspected of fraud, forgery and tax fraud. The arrested suspect has been detained and will be brought before the examining judge this week.

“Draco” is the result of the ‘Emerald’ investigation, which includes investigations into fraud of the Port of Sint Maarten by means of false invoices. This has caused the Port disadvantages of many millions of dollars.

Related story: TBO conducts searches in “DRACO” case