ST. Kitts Police say Dominican Gang of 4 wanted to steal high value metals, St. Kitts - THE second witness, Officer Richards, in the case against four Dominican Republic nationals, said they were arrested at the scene of the crime while trying to flee.


    The men, Angel Palmer, Ramon Benitezsaba, Juan Frederico Samiento and Arismandi Rivera, are accused of attempting to steal a large quantity of copper wire, scrap metals, old transformers and batteries, valued at $EC.5M, from Romeo Sylvester Tweed.


    Testifying yesterday (Feb. 25) on behalf of the prosecution, Richards said he received a report on December 14, 2011 and, as a result, he and three other senior officers travelled to the Solid Waste Management Corporation (SSMC) Landfill in Conaree.


    Upon arrival, Richards said they saw a pickup truck, which bore Angel Palmer's name, parked on the south eastern corner of the Landfill, and when they got closer they realised a hole was dug under the fence.


    He said they also saw tools on the ground including a hammer. He also informed that the four officers went in groups of two to investigate.


    Officer Richards said they searched the area and, in some vegetation about six feet tall, persons could be heard speaking a language he did not understand.


    He said upon further investigation, they found Palmer and Rivera in the vegetation and they were apprehended.


    He further testified that Benitezsaba was apprehended after he was caught running from the direction in which the sound of another officer’s voice came.


    The witness said after the men were arrested, they began driving back to the Basseterre Police Station with one of the officers driving Palmer's pickup truck.


    While on the way, Richards said Samiento was seen trying to "hop the pickup" but his attempt was unsuccessful. He said they stopped and he too was arrested and taken into custody.


    Richards testified that on December 16, 2011 the men were formally arrested and charged on
    warrants in the first instance.


    He said when questioned, Palmer said, "I ain thief nothing", and Rivera blurted out, "I never see so much money in my life, how I thief this?" While Samiento and Benitezsaba remained silent.


    He said Rivera wore several articles of clothing on the day he was apprehended while the other three men wore clothing that were "torn and stained with a dark coloured substance".


    At the cross examination, Officer Richards was questioned about the testimony he gave at the Magistrate Court regarding the case.


    He was asked if he first testified that the pickup truck was found on the north eastern corner of the Landfill rather than the south eastern end, to which he replied in the negative.


    It was revealed that he did indeed testify to the former at the Magistrate Court.


    When asked, he also testified that he was unaware if the other officers gave statements regarding the investigation.


    Officer Richards was asked if the men were found with anything in their hands, to which he
    replied in the negative.


    He said he did not see Samiento on the Landfill compound and, with regard to Benitezsaba, he did not see him do anything apart from running.


    It was brought out in Court that Officer Richards could not say who he called after he saw the pickup truck, the hole under the fence and the tools on the ground.


    Richards testified that there was no interpreter present when the men were charged.


    He however indicated that Palmer and Rivera, knowing both Spanish and English, interpreted for him while they and the other two men were being questioned.


    Officer Richards, when asked, said he could not say whether or not the men understood why they were being arrested, but they were given the opportunity to contact legal representation.


    The case began last Wednesday (Feb. 20) with counsel Garth Wilkin leading the prosecution
    while each accused has legal representation of their own.


    Palmer is being represented by Anthony Johnson, Rivera by John Cato, Benitezsaba by Fitzroy Eddy and Samiento by Hesketh Benjamin.


    After the prosecution rested its case, counsel for the defence made no case submissions.


    Justice Errol Thomas would be giving his ruling later today.

Go back | Date: 29 Mar 2013
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