Today, the Director of Public Prosecution had to walk back on the drug trafficking charge against Ranchito Village resident, 42 year old Robert Gentle.
Gentle was accused of trafficking over six kilos of suspected cocaine hidden inside this stolen luxury Lincoln Navigator.
Gentle, the Police alleged, was the driver who attempted to cross the Navigator into neighbouring Mexico through its Southern border on December 13th 2017. As the vehicle was passing through the Mexican customs and security, the x-tray apparatus alerted officials of suspicious packages. The driver realised he had been caught, so he spun the vehicle back in the direction of Belize and sped away. The driver made it across the Subteniente Lopez Bridge and upon entering Belize’s border area, he turned towards the customs cargo area where he crashed into the barrier. The driver then ran out of the vehicle and disappeared.
Police arrived at the scene shortly after and when they searched the vehicle, under dashboard cover they found six packages of suspected cocaine.
On January 2nd, 2018 42 year old Robert Gentle was formally charged for drug trafficking. Well it’s been over a year since Gentle initially appeared in Court to answer to the accusation and today it could be his last. The prosecution addressed Magistrate Lionel Olivera indicating that there was insufficient evidence to proceed and they are withdrawing the matter.
The prosecutor advised the court that in the interest justice they would not proceed with the charge. The prosecution also indicated that they reserved the right to re-enter the matter should more evidence come to light.
Gentle’s defense attorney, Leslie Hamilton, expressed dismay that at the last hearing, just last week, the prosecution did not proceed to trial and requested an adjournment on the basis that its main witness had an emergency. Today, however, the prosecution announced a blanket withdrawal.
Hamilton also raised concern that the prosecution may want to reinstate the charge and suggested that it would be an abuse of process.
Magistrate Olivera heard both sides and agreed that if the matter is re-entered, it could require the test of abuse of process.
In light of the prosecution’s decision to withdraw, he dismissed the charge and Gentle walked out a free man.