PHILIPSBURG–The Court of First Instance on Wednesday handed down the verdicts in the so-called Zandhaver investigations into four young male suspects. They were all found guilty of committing a number of armed robberies at supermarkets and other businesses in Dutch St. Maarten, as well as in French St. Martin.
These crimes were committed between December 22, 2015 and January 12, 2016. The four suspects were also convicted of extortion of store owners and customers, and of being accomplices to illegal firearm possession.
In addition, the Court ruled that the four suspects have to pay back the profits they had illegally obtained in the robberies. During the hearings of these cases, which took place on June 15, the Prosecutor’s Office had submitted dispossession claims to recover the criminal proceeds, which were estimated at a total of NAf. 7,500. Orders to recover the proceeds of crime fit in a new policy of the Prosecutor’s Office.
Main suspect in this case Andrae A. Lewis (18), who was born in Jamaica, was sentenced to 48 months in jail, six of which were suspended, on three years’ probation.
The Court also ordered him to pay back the amount of NAf. 1,961.66, or spend an additional 29 days in jail, in case of non-compliance.
Felix Martinez Rodriguez (17), born in the Dominican Republic, was sentenced to 24 months youth detention and has to pay back NAf. 1,603.88, or spend an additional 26 days in jail.
Jamaican Keneil J. Lawrence (21) received 36 months for his role in the robberies. He will have to pay back NAf. 1,603.88, or spend 26 more days, in case of non-compliance.
Jamaica-born Marklando Gayle (17) was sentenced to 24 months youth detention. He has to pay back NAf. 1,603.88, and will have to sit 26 days extra, in case of non-compliance.
The Prosecutor’s Office had called for prison sentences of six years against Lewis, five years for Lawrence, and four years against Martinez Rodriguez and Gayle.
The Judge in the Court of First Instance considered it proven that Lewis had been one of the planners of the armed robberies. Armed with a hammer, co-defendant Gayle entered the stores to take money from the cash registers. Armed with an air pistol and a knife, Lewis and Lawrence robbed the people present, taking their money and other properties. The Court found it proven that Martinez Rodriguez had been the driver of the getaway car.
Gayle and Lawrence confessed to the crimes and provided elaborate statements to the Police concerning the organisation of the robberies and the division of tasks.
Source: Daily Herald
Four armed robbers sentenced, ordered to pay back proceeds