No bail in T&T for Surinamese wanted in US on cocaine charges…

(Trinidad Express) Surinamese national Edmund Muntslag, who is wanted in the United States on allegations of conspiracy to smuggle ten kilogrammes of cocaine into that country, was yesterday denied bail.

Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar ruled that the court operates judiciously and not capriciously and therefore bail could not be granted.

Ayers-Caesar said her decision came after considering all the submissions in the matter, adding that there was not a presumption of favour in regard to “fugitive offenders”.

She advised Muntslag’s attorneys—Keith Scotland, Asha Watkins-Montserin and Adaphia Trancoso—to apply to a judge for bail.

Muntslag sat in the prisoner’s dock, being informed of his bail application refusal by Dutch translator Zaitoen Badloe Klaverweide.

Scotland requested disclosure regarding the provisional warrant for his client’s arrest.

He also asked that three cellphones, jewelry, children’s clothing and a quantity of cash be returned to relatives of his client.

Senior counsel Israel Khan, who is representing the requesting state through the Central Authority Unit, said all the items could be returned to Muntslag’s relatives except for the cellphones, which may be used as evidence.

He added if it is not necessary, then the phones would be returned.

Muntslag, 29, a restaurateur, is wanted in the United States for allegedly conspiring with others to traffic cocaine to the US between 2011 and this year.

He was arrested by officers of the Organised Crime, Narcotics and Firearms Bureau (OCNFB) at Trincity Mall on August 29, shortly after he arrived in Trinidad.

Muntslag is accused along with Dino Delano Bouterse, the son of Suriname president Desi Bouterse, with conspiring to traffic the drugs.

Bouterse, who is facing an additional charge for possession of a light anti-tank weapon, was arrested in Panama in August and has been handed over to US authorities.

The matter was adjourned to October 25.

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