Al Elford McLaughlin, 47, appeared in Summary Court Thursday on charges relating to a robbery at Morritt’s Resort in which an estimated 60 pounds of cocaine were taken by force from a security guard who had custody of the illegal drug.
Defense attorney James Stenning said his client denied the charges, which included conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to supply controlled drugs.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran said two other men were already before the Grand Court facing similar charges: Marvin Grant, 35, and Fred Ollen McLaughlin, 53.
These two men pleaded not guilty in January and their trial had been set to start on June 4. As a result of the third man being charged, the trial will not now go ahead on that date, Mr. Moran said, but the matter has been set for mention in Grand Court on June 8.
Mr. Moran explained that a resort guest who had seen packages that washed up on the East End beach had alerted staff, and police were called. While a security guard sought to keep the packages safe until the police officers arrived, a masked man with a machete showed up and stole the drugs. Mr. Grant is alleged to be that man.
When the security guard chased after the robber, a pickup truck blocked him. The Crown’s case is that Fred McLaughlin was the truck driver.
Mr. Moran said Al McLaughlin was alleged to have orchestrated the robbery after receiving a phone call from someone who worked at the resort.
Mr. Stenning applied for bail. He pointed out that his client, a resident of East End, had been on police bail for some time and had always reported as directed. The defendant’s wife was willing to put up her house as surety, he said.
Magistrate Philippa McFarlane refused to grant bail.
Mr. Moran applied to have the charges against Al McLaughlin committed to Grand Court, so the next mention will be in Summary Court on June 6. The intent was that the committal could be concluded in time for this defendant to join the others in the higher court two days later.