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Jamaican Brothers Accused Of Conspiring To Smuggle Coke In Luggage Handles

CaribWorldNews, NEWARK, NJ, Thurs. May 7, 2009: Three Jamaican nationals are among eight others accused of conspiring to smuggle cocaine in the handles of luggage arriving into the U.S.

U.S. agents say they will seek to extradite, two brothers, Roger Folkes, 37, and Romeo Folkes, 26, along with Mervin Francis, 33, of Jamaica, West Indies in connection with the smuggling operation.

The Folkes` along with Francis were among eight others indicted by a federal grand jury in Newark, New Jersey this week for their alleged participation in the international drug trafficking conspiracy.

It is alleged that the three, along with five others conspired to smuggle cocaine in the handrails of luggage aboard commercial airlines from Jamaica and St. Lucia, into the United States, and ultimately to Great Britain.

According to the indictment, drug couriers from the United States, such as Tajara Barnes and Genard Howard, would travel to Jamaica and St. Lucia, where defendants Roger Folkes and his brother Romeo Folkes and Mervin Francis would hide cocaine in the handrails of their luggage.

The couriers would return to the United States carrying the cocaine-filled luggage where, the superseding indictment alleges, defendant Cortnie Spencer would take possession of the luggage containing the cocaine and deliver it to couriers who were scheduled to travel to Great Britain.

The couriers would then fly to Great Britain where they would deliver the cocaine to defendants Nigel Roberts, Prine George Alfonso Jones, and others, in exchange for payment, the indictment alleges.

Roberts, 31, of Birmingham, England, was arrested on March 25 in Miami on an arrest warrant from the District of New Jersey. He is being returned to New Jersey for his initial appearance and arraignment, which has not yet been set.

Jones, 42, also of Birmingham, England, was arrested on Feb. 3 in Great Britain, for allegedly transporting narcotics directly from St. Lucia to Great Britain, where he is currently incarcerated. The United States intends to seek extradition.

Spencer, 32, of Queens, N.Y., was arrested on Sept. 8, after being arrested on the New Jersey Turnpike, allegedly in possession of suitcases he had picked up from a drug courier. The suitcase handrails contained approximately 800 grams of cocaine, according to a criminal Complaint.

Barnes, 33, and Genard Howard, 34, both of Brooklyn, N.Y., were first arrested  on May 6, 2008 in London, for allegedly importing into that country approximately 1.7 kilos of cocaine. They were held in England until their deportation to the United States, where they were immediately arrested on Oct. 22 upon their return. They are both free on $100,000 unsecured bond and ordered to remain in their homes with electronic monitoring.

Each defendant is charged with conspiracy to import and to export five kilos or more of cocaine, which carries a statutory mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, a statutory maximum of life in prison, and fines of up to $4 million. Spencer is also charged with possession of 500 grams or more of cocaine, which carries a statutory mandatory minimum of five years in prison, a statutory maximum of 40 years in prison, and a fine of up to $2 million.