A preliminary inquiry was held Wednesday to determine whether the case of four men who were allegedly involved in smuggling cash into Cayman will proceed as planned.
Patrick Moran, the director of the Office of Public Prosecutions, spent Wednesday morning going over the crown’s case in front of Magistrate Valdis Foldats. Moran cited a variety of sources including paperwork, text messages, plane logs, shipping invoices and transcripts from defendant interviews.
All four defendants and their respective attorneys were present for Wednesday’s proceeding.
Pedro Jose Benavides Natera and Juan Carlos Gonzales Infante – the pilots of the plane in which US$135,000 of undeclared cash was found secreted under the floorboards – have been charged with being engaged in smuggling and use or control of criminal property.
They were originally set to begin trial on 17 July, but that trial date was vacated.
Two additional defendants – Daniel Aguilar-Ferriozzi and Francisco Ventura Herrera – have been charged with money laundering in the case. Aguilar-Ferriozzi and Herrera were passengers aboard the private plane that allegedly brought $4 million worth of gold to the Cayman Islands.
All four of the defendants are Venezuelan nationals.
The gold involved in the case was seized at Heathrow Airport by UK Border Force officers in June.