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Captain Gets $1m Bail - 'Marijuana Found On Cargo Ship'

Herb Fellow

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ONE million dollars' bail was yesterday granted to the captain of a cargo ship on which a large quantity of marijuana was allegedly found last Friday. Magistrate Lucia Cardinez-Ragoonanan, sitting in the Port of Spain Tenth Magistrate's Court, granted bail, to be approved by the Clerk of the Peace, with the condition that Vladimir Stoyanov surrender his passport.

Stoyanov also has to report to the Central Police Station every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. A tracing was also ordered on him internationally, as well as locally and regionally.

For the duration of the trial, Stoyanov, at the expense of his company, will be housed at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Port of Spain, as he plans to contest the matter.

Stoyanov, 38, of Bulgaria, was charged with importing marijuana into the country and possession of the drugs, which were allegedly found attached to the hull of the vessel. The first charge was laid indictably and he was not called upon to plead; while he pleaded not guilty to the second charge.

Stoyanov is the captain of MVCS Pamplona, which came into the spotlight on Friday after 180 kilogrammes of marijuana was found attached to the underside of the hull inside two metal boxes. The drugs were allegedly found at Shed Six at King's Wharf, Port of Spain, by Customs and Excise Marine Interdiction Unit and Coast Guard divers, who acted on a tip-off.

The drugs were shown yesterday to Cardinez-Ragoonanan; Stoyanov's lawyers, Gilbert Peterson, SC, and Allison Alexander; along with Customs State Counsel Shirley Sheppard and the court's note-taker in the court's car park. The two metal boxes, which weighed approximately 45 to 50 pounds each, along with the drugs were taken to the court in two unmarked Customs vehicles.

After the matter was adjourned, Stoyanov, who speaks English, asked why he still had to be handcuffed even though he was granted bail. Peterson told him that was still a prisoner until his bail had been processed. The matter has been adjourned to March 20.

Source: Trinidad and Tobago Express
Copyright: 2008, Trinidad and Tobago Express
Contact: Jensen LaVende, jlavende@trinidadexpress.com
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