A magistrate has postponed an extradition hearing that will determine whether five Virgin Islands residents accused of participating in an international cocaine smuggling conspiracy should be sent to the United States for trial.

Senior Magistrate Valerie Stephens was told in Magistrates’ Court Thursday that one of the defendants, Earl “Bob” Hodge, is no longer represented by J.S. Archibald, QC, and will now be defended by the VI-based Herbert McKenzie and Julian Knowles, QC, who is based in the United Kingdom. The extradition hearing, which attorneys said is expected to last one day, is now scheduled to start on Feb. 3.

According to an indictment filed on July 15 in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Mr. Hodge and Carlston Beazer, Juan Valdez, Roberto “Tico” Harrigan and Chad Skelton are accused of involvement in a cocaine trafficking ring that allegedly dates back 13 years.


See the Jan 26, 2012 edition for full coverage.