No warrants were produced to search the businesses, severe damage at both establishments while detectives help themselves to free beverages during the search which lasted over 12 hours.
PHILIPSBURG:— Relatives of the Meyers family and the exotic dancers that are operating at El Captain and Le Petit Chateau raised several questions about the searches that were conducted on Tuesday. Speaking to SMN News were some family members who said that about 15 detectives went to the Meyers residence about 5am on Tuesday morning. The relatives who spoke to SMN News on the condition of anonymity said that when the detectives reached the gate they somehow got Etienne Toochie Meyers attention who willingly opened his gate electronically. The relatives said when the detectives got closer to the home they asked Meyers to meet them downstairs, at the time Meyers were in his underpants, but he complied with the detectives, judge and prosecutor’s request to join them downstairs. Moments later the detectives including the judge and prosecutor along with Meyers went into his home and spoke to Meyers who immediately told his wife to call his lawyers but when she tried to approach her phones, the judge and prosecutor told her that she was not allowed to touch the phones. The relatives said shortly after that the prosecutor and judge told Meyers to get dressed and after that was done they presented him with a warrant which basically stated that he will be arrested and his home will be searched. The relatives further explained that the judge and prosecutor then told Meyers’ wife that they were going to search her home and if it was necessary they will return. They said in the process of searching the home —which they basically ransacked they confiscated 10 watches (expensive watches such as Movado, Rolex, and other top brands) all of which belong to Mrs. Meyers and Etienne Meyers, the detectives they said also confiscated a box that contained documents that are related to “Play to Win” casino license. The relatives further explained that Mrs. Meyers asked the detectives why they were confiscating her watches all which are gifts given to them by their children and she was told that those are valuables that will be confiscated for the criminal acts committed.
The relatives said that after the detectives went over to a vacant land that had several heavy types of equipment including two boats which they did not even check to see who owns the immovable properties. The relatives said the detectives even confiscated the private vehicle belonging to Mrs. Meyers and that of Etienne Toochie Meyers. The relatives further stated that while the detectives, judge, and prosecutor were at the home of the Meyers, his wife turned over all the keys belonging to the vehicles that were confiscated and the two clubs.
The relatives said they did not know that while there were about 15 detectives at the Meyers residence, there were another set at El Captain and the Le Petit Chateau.
Licensed Firearm confiscated.
The family also explained when the detectives entered Meyers home, he informed them that he was in possession of a licensed firearm and offered to show them the firearm and the license but the judge and prosecutor refused to see those and instead, it appeared in one of the newspapers that an illegal firearm was found in Meyers home.
Damages at the Clubs
SMN News visited El Captain on Wednesday afternoon and found that the detectives damaged almost every door at the building including the glass door on the outside that has no locks. Besides that those at the club said that the cleaner was at the location when the detectives arrived there at 5am and she offered to open the building but the detectives refused the offer and proceeded to damage the doors, cash pans, safe, and slot machines, surveillance cameras, and other parts while inside the building. What was amazing to see is the damage done to the slot machines.
No Warrants to search clubs.
The daughter of Etienne Meyers said that she and her brother went to El Captain after 8am and asked the detectives to provide her with a copy of the warrant to search El Captain, her father’s property. The young woman said when they arrived at the location they were prevented from entering and they could not obtain a copy of the warrant because the detectives basically told them that the administrative procedures were done by the judge and prosecutor and they did not have a copy with them to hand over to her. The families also posed questions about the clubs that were raided and the people who were arrested in this and other cases. They said that so far all the clubs that were targeted belong to locals while those that are operated by foreigners were not raided. They said that while there was a stop on issuing working permits to the clubs other clubs such as Platinum are still open and they are not being targeted.
Detectives helped themselves to free beverages during the search.
Inside the club, in the bar area, several empty water bottles were seen along with coca cola cans. The female workers said that they personally saw the detectives taking beverages out of the coolers and were drinking since they searched El Captain from 5am to 5pm. The dancers said that some of them went inside to get water and juice because all day they were not given anything to eat but were told that they should stay in their rooms, they said when they went inside the club and told the detectives that they were there to get something to drink the detectives basically told them to take all that they wanted to drink since there is no camera and their bosses are not there.
Interrogation of illegal dancers that are still free.
At El Captain there were between 11 to 15 commercial sex workers that were found without legal documents while there were about the same amount at Le Petit Chateau. Some of the women arrived on the island 3 days ago legally, and another 5 were supposed to arrive on Wednesday since the club owner paid $1,600 (NAF,2, 500) to process their working documents (residency and work permits ) for the club, which they obtained from the immigration and labor services. However, the commercial sex workers that are legal on the island told SMN News that the documents Meyers obtained from the immigration department, the detective told them those documents are fraudulent and as such, they would have to leave the island within a week time. They said the detectives confiscated their passports and even went as far as telling them if they testify against Meyers they would get back their passports faster and they would be able to leave the island.
The commercial sex workers, especially those that arrived three days ago said that they paid their own tickets and they just arrived here with legal documents and now they are told that those documents their boss obtained from government are fraudulent, this they said they cannot understand and most shocking was the statements made to them which were if they cooperated with the detectives and testify against Meyers they would be able to leave faster.
As for the illegal commercial sex workers, the detectives left them at the clubs and told them that they are allowed to remain on the island and solicit work outside of the club until it is time for them to leave. “Here it is we have detectives telling us that we can stay at the club even though we are here illegally and we could solicit work outside of the club. This is something we all find strange while those that obtained working documents are told that their documents are fraudulent and they have to leave.
Attorney at Law Jairo Bloem in a statement to SMN News said that it is regrettable to see in one newspaper that a gun was found in Meyers’ home which according to him is incorrect.
Bloem said that he spoke to his client when he was arrested and his client told him that he informed the judge, prosecutor, and detectives, that he is possession of a licensed firearm, yet it appeared in the newspaper in a negative light. Bloem said his client had illegal workers in his club and that is indeed wrong (illegal) but the things that were done during the search is unimaginable. He said the outgoing Minister of Justice had promised the club owners to extend the permits for the women that are already on the island working at the clubs since the government was taking way too long in regulating the situation and all the clubs were suffering financially. Bloem said even though the Minister of Justice made that statement verbally he never executed the extension thus leaving the women undocumented.
Bloem said Meyers has 60 employees who today would be without work, besides that the businessman has loans and mortgages to pay monthly which amounts to $18,000.00 per month.
Bloem said since May the court ordered the government to start issuing permits to the club owners for the commercial sex workers and now that it is being done, the prosecutors and judge that were on the scene are telling them that the documents they obtained from the government are fraudulent.
He said that detectives went to Dulcia Florentina home and they banged so hard on her door that she panicked. Bloem said that Florentina suffers from several ailments and what happened to her on Tuesday almost killed her. He further explained that when the detectives reached the woman home she was still in her nightdress and when she was told that she would be detained she told the officers she needed to get dress and while in her room trying to get dress in the presence of a female officer, a male detective walked in the room and did not want to leave the room when Florentina asked him to leave so she could get dressed. He said another suspect Louella Rog was manhandled when she was arrested. Bloem said that the officer cuffed her inward and when she asked why she was mistreated because she was not resisting arrest, the detectives told her that they are treating her the way they believe she treated the women at the club.
Bloem said based on what transpired on Tuesday he is contemplating opening a preliminary criminal investigation against the prosecutor and those that were involved in the searches.
Asked if he received the search warrants for all the properties, he said that he did not get anything from the Prosecution as yet. He said that so far he saw his clients and could only report what his clients told him.
Bloem said that the operators of the clubs had control on the women, since they were seeing doctors weekly and whenever they leave the club at nights with clients, those persons have to give the club owners some sort of identification for the safety of the women.
Since the warrants for the establishments were not given to the owners it is still not clear why this search and arrest took place. Another question that still has to be answered by law enforcement is the reason why local club owners are harassed by the judicial system while those on the western side of the island remained untouched.
Source: St. Martin News Network
EXCLUSIVE : Several questions now being posed on the raids conducted El Captain, Le Petit Chateau and Meyers residence — almost 25 exotic dancers caught operating illegally.