The lawyer representing one of two Barbadian men arrested in the United States last weekend following a major drug bust at a hotel, says his clients have returned home without having to face criminal charges.
Queen Counsel Ralph Thorne QC said he had spoken to both Calvin Brathwaite, 34, and Dyson Benskin, 33, and that while they suffered a bit of detention while investigations transpired in the United States, both men are now in Barbados.
“They have not been charged with any offense and as far as we are aware they have been released without any conditions. That is the status at present,” Thorne said.
The two men were arrested at the Hyatt Place Hotel in Dania Beach in Broward County, 37 kilometres north of Miami, after sheriff’s deputies found sealed bags of marijuana in their hotel room, according to media reports.
A member of the hotel’s housekeeping staff smelled a strong odour of marijuana coming from the room and an employee notified management, who entered the room and found a large quantity of marijuana in bags on the floor and on a table and subsequently called the Broward County Sheriff, the reports said.
In the arrest affidavit the men are reported to have admitted receiving a phone call from Barbados that instructed them to pick up marijuana at another location and pass it on to another person.
“Brathwaite and Benskin stated that they flew to Florida for a three-day vacation and that while they were in South Florida they received a phone call from someone in Barbados asking them to pick up marijuana at another location and pass it on to another person. The men allegedly said that they drove it to the hotel in a rental vehicle and were awaiting further instructions,” the arrest affidavit said.
When asked about the arrest statement, Thorne said that if what was reported in the arrest affidavit was true it would show clear evidence of possession and neither Braithwaite nor Benskin would be allowed to return to Barbados.
“I can’t say what is true or untrue but what I can say in my professional judgment is if what you read to me had occurred, trust me they would not be in Barbados now. That is as much as I would say on that. That is clear evidence of possession and if you have that evidence of possession there is no way that they would have walked through Miami airport and come back to Barbados,” the attorney added.
“I know you would be curious as to what else has transpired, and I should tell you that in all fairness that they happened to be in a room adjoining another room in which the contraband was located.
“It is really a terrible coincidence and a terrible error if one wants to put it as that. The error being that they were detained because they happened to be in a room next door to a room that contained cannabis, I believe. My information is that other persons were detained they don’t know what has happened to those persons.
“It is believed that those persons are Americans, I don’t know; they don’t know for sure but they have been released and returned to Barbados on Tuesday,” Thorne said.
But Thorne said he could not say if the two men would return to the United States.
“I do not believe so. I would have to inquire further about that but I do not believe that they are going to go back to the United States,” Thorne said.