Fishermen Michael Augustin and Terrance Mitchell have been told that there is sufficient evidence against them to stand trial for possession of a controlled drug (cocaine) and possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply another, as well as failure to stop and damage to vessel.
Officers of the Marine Unit (MU) intercepted the two men on September 12, 2012, about 10 nautical miles off the coast of Canaries at about 9 pm.
As it was a pirogue (small fishing boat) officers grew suspicious because of the lateness of the hour and approached the vessel. During their approach the officers employed strobe lights to announce their presence and incite the pirogue to stop.
The occupants of the pirogue instead employed evasive measures: rammed into the coast guard vessel and attempted to avoid capture. The pirogue was eventually stopped, the occupants brought on board the coast guard vessel, and a search was conducted by the coast guard.
During the initial search, marine officers recovered two large polythene bags. Both men denied knowledge of the contents of the bags.
Upon return to the Marine Unit, officers of the Marine Unit conducted a further search which did not reveal new evidence. The two bags were opened in the presence of the two men. Inside were a total of 67 smaller packages (blocks).
The men were informed that the officers suspected that the packages contained an illegal substance and the Drug Squad was called in. The packages were opened and examined and a sample from each package was taken and sealed for forensic analysis.
The coast guard vessel was also examined for damage from being hit by the pirogue. Officers discovered that one of the lower doors of the vessel was damaged along with the door frame. The damage was severe enough to prevent the door from closing.
It was determined, after testing, that the packages contained 67 kilograms of cocaine. The two men were then charged with one count each of possession of a controlled drug and possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply another. In addition the owner of the pirogue, Mitchell, was also charged with failure to stop and damage to vessel.
Augustin and Mitchell will re-appear in court on June 28, 2013 for a report on their indictment.