Cops free 59 without charges

PORTOF SPAIN — Fifty-nine of the 101 people arrested in East Port of Spain from last Thursday to Sunday have been freed without being charged.

Among them are two high-profile alleged gang members — Anthon Boney and Cedric “Burkey” Burke.

In a show of force on Sunday, over 300 lawmen swooped down in the East Port of Spain area and arrested 89 people in the aftermath of four murders in the area mere days before.

More than half of them were back out on the streets yesterday, police said.

According to police reports, of the 89, 47 were released and 26 appeared in court yesterday. Of that 26, 22 were brought to court on outstanding warrants, three on narcotics and one for illegally occupying a Housing Development Corporation apartment.

The three on narcotics charges are Merlin Roberts, Ria Durity and Alana Villafana.

Roberts was placed on a bond for two years and in default would face 30 days hard labour or a $1,200 fine.

Roberts had 5.8 grammes of marijuana. Durity had one gramme of marijuana and was ordered to serve 80 hours of community service. For failure to do so, she would be fined $500 or spend 30 days in prison.

Villafana was ordered to serve 100 hours of community service for the 17 grammes of marijuana she had. Villafana would spend six months in jail should she fail to complete the community service or be fined $700.

The 89 were held days after two teenage cousins were shot dead on Duncan Street, Port of Spain. Since then there has been a heavy police and army presence in the area.

Last Thursday, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar visited the area and told residents a police/army post would be placed in the area to protect the residents from the gunmen who seek to throw them out of the Housing Development Corporation apartments.

Following the killing, some 12 men were arrested. They were said to be gang members and or leaders and were allegedly responsible for the cousins’ deaths as warring gangs fought to be in control of State contracts.

By 7 a.m. yesterday, all 12 were freed. (Express)

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