Customs officers bailed on camouflage possession charge

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Two Customs Department officers who were each charged with possessing camouflage clothing were both granted bail in the St. John’s Magistrates’ Court.
Laurel Jonas of Gunthorpes and Eugene Francis of Yorks both of whom work at the Customs Department at the V.C. Bird International Airport appeared before Magistrate Conliffe Clarke in the St. John’s Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
Jonas was released on her $1,000 station bail which was later endorsed by the court, while Francis received $3,000 bail with a required cash deposit of $300. He needed two sureties to sign on his behalf.
It is alleged that on May 18, the duo had in their possession seven camouflage pants, one camouflage vest, one camouflage T-shirt, one camouflage jacket and one camouflage tam resembling the government issued uniform of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF) soldiers.
The offences are said to be contrary to Section 193 (1) (c) (1) of the Defence Act, Chapter 132 of the Revised Edition 1992 of the Laws of Antigua and Barbuda.
The police said the camouflage items were found at Francis’ home in Yorks last week when they went to the property to investigate another matter involving a missing barrel which reportedly contained illegal drugs.
The barrel, which reportedly was at the Customs Cargo department, was supposed to be under round-the- clock surveillance by the police K-9 unit, but, at some point, this ceased, and it disappeared.
Reports are that the barrel arrived in Antigua last week on an Amerijet flight and after the K-9 dogs raised an alarm about the contents, the police decided to leave the barrel at the Cargo area to await anyone who would clear it.
However, when the surveillance system was no longer being done round-the-clock, someone removed the barrel.
When Francis’ home was searched neither the barrel nor its contents were found.
Jonas was not at the home with Francis when he was arrested. Police picked her up days later and charged her.
Both Francis and Jonas of were represented by Michael Archibald and Warren Cassell.
The couple is scheduled to reappear in court on August 16.

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