Release offer rejected due to prisoner awaiting extradition to US: Cayman News Service
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Release offer rejected due to prisoner awaiting extradition to US: Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands News Service

(CNS): Chief Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale said the habeas corpus petition filed by Juan Carlos Gonzalez Infante on the grounds that he was unlawfully detained was “completely misled” because he had the right to appeal , and the hearing is scheduled for June 18. Gonzalez Infante appealed his extradition to the United States on cocaine trafficking charges, but due to numerous delays he has been here for more than four years.

The court ruled that Gonzalez Infante, a Venezuelan citizen, should be extradited to the United States in November 2022. However, this decision is subject to the right of appeal, as the President of the Supreme Court stated last week when filing a request for release from prison that “it should be dismissed, because the remedy sought by the applicant is not available to him” as he may appeal.

On May 30, 2019, Gonzalez Infante arrived in the Cayman Islands in a private plane he piloted. He was arrested on June 4 on charges of gold smuggling and money laundering. He was remanded in custody pending trial and has since worked at HMP Northward.

The request for his extradition to the US was submitted in November 2019. However, before the extradition hearing, Gonzalez Infante appeared before the Grand Court along with several other people accused of gold smuggling and money laundering. They all were acquitted in March 2020 after a jury trial.

On September 8, 2020, in the Summary Court, Gonzalez Infante was acquitted of related charges. On September 11, 2020, he applied for bail, but it was rejected. The extradition hearing was finally held in November 2020, and the magistrate found the extradition request lawful and issued a judgment in January, ordering the case to be transferred to the governor.

Then, last March, the governor ordered his extradition to the United States to face trial on drug trafficking offenses allegedly committed in 2006–2007, including conspiracy to import, intent to distribute, and possession of more than 5 kg cocaine and money laundering.

Although Gonzalez Infante was in prison for an extended period of time, the chief judge found that given the circumstances, there was nothing illegal at the time. The case was characterized by delays for a variety of reasons, including legal aid issues, representation and delays in securing medical reports. Gonzalez Infante, 62, is said to suffer from a number of health problems, including early-onset dementia.