Venezuelans plead guilty to illegal entry, not guilty to shooting
Front Page
October 5, 2007

Venezuelans plead guilty to illegal entry, not guilty to shooting

Four Venezuelan fishermen will know their fate today when they reappear at the Kingstown Magistrates’ Court before Senior Magistrate Donald Browne on a charge “that on September 23 at Union Island, they did visit St Vincent and the Grenadines on a vessel without notifying the Comptroller of Customs as to the expected time of arrival not less than one working day before their arrival”.{{more}}

When Valentine Dominguez, 52, Teddoro Dominguez, 39, Andreas Jose Maraeo, 39, and 26-year-old Merchor Sanchez appeared before the court on Tuesday they all pleaded guilty to the charge.

The men were also charged with discharging a firearm at Leading Seaman Bramgurgon Glasgow. They pleaded not guilty, and the matter was adjourned to October 16 for trial.

According to a release from Commissioner of Police Keith Miller, the incident took place at around 10:55 p.m., when Coast Guard officers were patrolling the area, along with police officers of the Rapid Response Unit and the Narcotics Division.

It also stated that the police officers intercepted two vessels: a pirogue and a speedboat.

The release further stated that the occupants of the pirogue then fired on the lawmen, and they returned fire.

According to the release from the police, after disabling the pirogue, the Coast Guard boarded it and found the men.

Up to press time onWednesday, two other Venezuelans, Andries Jose Cumanonoa and Theodore Dominguez, both 39, were still nursing gunshot wounds at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

The two-week adjournment, which the Magistrate granted to the Prosecution, was to gather more evidence in the matter.

Rising as a friend of the court, veteran lawyer Arthur William said, “We have a PetroCaribe agreement with the Venezuelans and we are treating them so?” He further stated that it is a cause for concern and the matter should be dealt speedily. “Why do you need a two-week adjournment? Four men can’t fire one gun,” said Williams.

SEARCHLIGHT also understands that US$11,000 was found on the vessel along with a quantity of whiskey and a sack of milk. The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is investigating the matter. (KW)