Extradition hearing of Trinidad man wanted in US goes to February

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Shurlan Guppy –

EXTRADITION proceedings for a man arrested last year by US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officers and police on suspicion of smuggling heroin and cocaine into that country have been adjourned to February.

Acting Chief Magistrate Adrian Darmanie adjourned the extradition hearing for Shurlan Guppy to February 16, to give his attorneys time to to respond to submissions on an error on a document which was eventually corrected, and which was pivotal to giving the local court the authority to proceed with the hearing.

The error concerned a date on the document, which was unrecognisable, and which the former chief magistrate had raised at a previous hearing.

An explanation was provided and the error was corrected.

However, Guppy’s attorneys, Wayne Sturge and Mario Merritt, wanted time to respond after seeing the explanation.

Senior Counsel Ravi Rajcoomar, who leads the case for the US, admitted there was an error on the document, as the date appeared to be “off.”

He also said disclosure has been completed with the filing and serving of the statements of the two witnesses for the requesting state.

The case has been adjourned to February 16, when it will be called for mention. At that time, senior magistrate Christine Charles is expected to take up the post of acting chief magistrate, so she will preside over that hearing.

Darmanie remanded Guppy until then, since he has not applied for bail at the High Court, having been denied twice in September last year.

Guppy, 47, is facing 11 changes of heroin and cocaine trafficking in the US.

He also faces local charges of possessing a firearm, ammunition, and cocaine. Guppy has also been denied bail on those charges. The charges stemmed from items purportedly discovered at his rented home at Ascot Road, Westmoorings, and his Jeep Rubicon.

Guppy was arrested on September 26, 2023, at Ascot Road, Goodwood Park, Westmoorings.

In the extradition proceedings, the US Government, as the requesting state, is also represented by Netram Kowlesar, Radon Dalrymple-Watts, and the director of the Central Authority in the Office of the Attorney General, Graeme McClean.

Darmanie first refused Guppy bail in September, and also issued an extradition warrant on September 21, 2023, which led to Guppy’s arrest.

To prosecute Guppy for allegedly smuggling heroin and cocaine worth US$1 million into Pennsylvania, the US is asking for his extradition.

In a statement after he was apprehended, the US Embassy said Guppy faced charges from the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In a statement, the embassy said the Trinidad and Tobago Transnational Organised Crime Unit (TOCU) received assistance from its DEA officers in the inquiry that resulted in Guppy’s detention.

The police, in a different statement, said Guppy had been taken into custody by the Southern Division Task Force.

National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds expressed gratitude to the DEA and the TOCU.

He said, “US DEA agents in Philadelphia and at the US Embassy started working on this case with us in 2020, culminating in this major arrest and extradition order. I am gratified that our excellent co-operation has led to this arrest. We count on our American partners in law enforcement to assist us in making Trinidad and Tobago safer for our communities.”

US Ambassador Candace Bond said, “I am proud of the painstaking work the US Embassy’s DEA agents do every single day to help end drug trafficking and to strengthen citizen security for the people of TT.”

Guppy is also represented by attorney Alexia Romero.