Drugs in fruit grinder court case starts

Preliminary inquiry for three accused opens at the Kelowna courthouse.

A preliminary inquiry into a case in which the RCMP claim cocaine was smuggled into Canada in the drums of a large fruit grinder in September 2010 has started in Kelowna provincial court.

The proceedings, before Judge Jane Cartwright, started Monday  and are expected to last five or six days, said Crown prosecutor Chris  Greenwood. The preliminary inquiry is being held to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to a trial.

A publication ban on evidence presented at the inquiry prevents the  media from reporting what was said by the witnesses.

Three men, Clifford Roger Montgomery of West Kelowna, Tariq Mohamed  Aslam of Surrey and Salvador Ascencio-Chavez, also known as Victor  Perez Rodriguez of Kelowna have been charged with conspiracy to import  cocaine and possession for the purposes of trafficking. Ascencio-Chavez is currently being held in custody. Montgomery and Aslam, who are both free on bail were in court Monday.

Charges against a fourth man,  another West Kelowna resident, were dropped earlier this year.

Vancouver area border agents say they discovered the cocaine in the grinder that was being shipped from Argentina to Kelowna.



Kelowna Capital News

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