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(SNO) — Three Saint Lucian men have been sentenced to four years in prison by a Martinique court in connection with a drug trafficking matter, according to Martinique 1ere.
The men, who are between 28 and 41 years old, were sentenced on Wednesday, Dec. 19. Their sentences were accompanied by a 10-year ban from the French territory.
Martinique 1ere further reported that the St. Lucians were arrested at sea, between St. Vincent and St. Lucia, by the French Navy on November 17, 2018. The trio were chased by Navy soldiers after they were observed sailing in a go-fast with “suspicious behaviour”.
In a panic, the men were seen throwing several bales of suspected drugs overboard, Martinique 1ere reported.
The contents thrown away were never recovered and the St. Lucians argued that the bales contained sand, and they were fishing in the area. But the prosecutor said, according to Martinique 1ere, that tools required for fishing were not found on the men’s vessel and that dogs trained for the detection of narcotics “demonstrated the recent presence of products”.
The operation was reportedly carried out in close collaboration with the French Navy, OCRTIS (Central Office for the Suppression of the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs), and the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Fort-de-France.