NASSAU –– Eight of 11 men wanted by the United States to face drug trafficking charges were extradited yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed.
The men are Sheldon Moore, Gordon Newbold, Melvin Maycock Sr, Bryan Deal, Lynden Deal, Carl Culmer, Torrey Lockhart and Wilfred Ferguson, according to the ministry.
The men were transported under heavy police guard to an aircraft at Odyssey Aviation.
In a statement, United States Charge d’Affaires Lisa Johnson commended The Bahamas’ decision to extradite the eight men.
“The Bahamian government and Bahamian courts have sent a strong message that those accused of crimes that jeopardize the safety of Bahamian citizens will not be allowed to hide from justice,” Johnson said.
“This extradition strikes a blow against organized crime and narcotics trafficking in The Bahamas.
“We commend this decision, which is evidence of the close and productive security partnership the United States shares with The Bahamas.
“We will continue to work in cooperation with The Bahamas to respond to the threats posed by transnational criminal organizations.”
The Court of Appeal denied the men and three others –– Shanto Curry, Trevor Roberts and Devroy Moss –– permission to appeal their extradition orders to the Privy Council on Friday.
Curry, Roberts and Moss are expected to appear before Supreme Court Justice Vera Watkins on January 14 over their challenge to the constitutionality of the make-up of the Court of Appeal, The Nassau Guardian understands.
The men were seeking bail pending appeal and leave to appeal.
Federal prosecutors requested the men’s extradition to Florida in 2004.
However, the extradition hearing proceeded sporadically before a magistrate as the fugitives raised constitutional challenges to the legitimacy of the Extradition Act and the Listening Devices Act, the governing legislation for wiretaps that were taken to the Privy Council.
A magistrate finally approved the extradition request and ordered the committal of the fugitives to await extradition on May 7, 2013.
A Supreme Court judge refused to issue a writ of habeas corpus and affirmed the orders for extradition on September 11, 2014.
The Court of Appeal revoked bail for the remaining fugitives on November 18 after upholding the Supreme Court’s decision to grant the extradition requests.
In her ruling on Friday, Court of Appeal President Justice Anita Allen said “appeals to the Privy Council are as of right when they engage any of the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by Articles 15 through 27, inclusive of the constitution”.
“Neither in their grounds of appeal argued in this court, nor in the present leave applications, did the appellants identify or detail how their rights were breached,” Allen said.
“More than a mere allegation that a fundamental right has been contravened is required to ground an appeal.
“In light of this, there is no basis on which this court can grant leave to appeal as of right on these assertions . . . .”