Hold order issued vs Canadian drug suspects
A Makati City judge has ordered the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to stop two Canadian drug suspects from leaving the country after being granted bail.
Granting a request from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 135 Judge Josephine Advento-Vito Cruz issued a hold departure order (HDO) against James Clayton Riach and Ali Memar Mortazavi Shirazi.
“There being no comment/opposition from both accused, the prosecution’s motion for issuance of hold departure order is hereby granted,” read the judge’s order dated July 1, a copy of which the prosecution received this week.
The order will “remain effective until otherwise ordered and canceled by the court,” the judge said in her order.
“The [BI] is hereby directed to prevent or hold the departure from the country of the accused,” read the order.
Lack of evidence
Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera sought the HDO in late June after Advento-Vito Cruz granted the bail petition of the accused on June 22, citing the lack of evidence to keep them in detention.
It was a reversal of her March 20 ruling that had denied the bail request.
The DOJ has a pending motion seeking the judge’s reconsideration of her bail grant.
In a pleading filed last week, Navera said the court had “committed grave and rank error” in granting the two bail, given the evidence against them.
Links to cartel
Known for their alleged links to a Mexican drug cartel, Riach and Shirazi are among four Canadian nationals arrested in separate raids in three luxury condominiums in Makati and Taguig.
The bust yielded P100-million worth of cocaine, shabu and ecstasy.
In his petition, Navera cited the bail grant’s “deleterious effects on the government’s war on drugs.”
The two are still under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation despite the bail grant, as the agency said it would exhaust all legal avenues to keep them in detention.
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