Latvian Launches Appeal In $48M Cocaine Case

March 12, 2014

A Latvian sailor who was convicted two years ago of possessing almost $50 million worth of cocaine has launched an appeal today [Mar 12]. Janis Zegelis was previously sentenced to 25 years in prison, and his sailboat “Arturs” was confiscated by the Court.

When he was sentenced in 2012, Judge Carlisle Greaves said he took into account the fact that the drugs were not destined for Bermuda, however at the same time wanted to send a message that Bermuda is not the place to be caught with illegal drugs.

File photo of Mr Zegelis leaving Court:

Before being sentenced in 2012, the defendant apologized to the Court, and asked for leniency saying he wanted to be able to see his three young children again.

31-year-old Janis Zegelis sailed to Bermuda from Trinidad and was arrested in August 2011, after Customs officials searched his boat while it was docked in the St George’s area and found the cocaine as well as a gun and ammunition.

Police guarding Mr Zegelis’ boat “Arturs” in 2011:

During the trial, Mr Zegelis said he was paid to sail the boat from Trinidad to Latvia by a Russian man, and had not intended to come to Bermuda however diverted to the island after experiencing problems with his sailboat.

He also claimed he had no prior knowledge of the drugs, having discovered the cocaine in a compartment on the boat after a few days at sea. He did admit to having knowledge of the gun, saying he needed it for protection against pirates.

Photo of the cocaine:

He was in possession of 165kg [363lbs] of cocaine valued at $48 million —  one of the largest drug seizures in Bermuda’s history — and a 9mm Beretta, 192 rounds of ammunition and two extended magazines.

Other defendants appealing, or scheduled to appeal, their convictions during this sitting of the Court of Appeal include Jahmel Blakeney, Sanchey Grant, Zharrin Simmons, Noet Barnett, and Tracey Pitt.

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Comments (17)

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  1. Paradise Reclaimed says:

    Everyone loses. Bermuda pays for years. Three children without a father. All for prohibition’s sake. At what cost? Guaranteed, no Latvians went without their cocaine as a result of this seizure. .

    • Mazumbo says:

      Keep an eye out for de Russian Mafia.

    • Cranberry says:

      I think he and his drugs should be put on a plane and sent back to Latvia… Probably with a short email advising the Latvian Police of his flight details…

  2. Coffee says:

    Send him to the UK .

  3. Devonshire Doggs says:

    Honestly for the sake of Bermuda, Take the drugs. Ban him from Bermuda for life and deport him. Why must us tax payers pay for him for the next 25 years?! Just be done with it…

    • MAKE MY DAY says:

      Then EVERY Tom, Dick and Harry would be doing the same thing with impunity – once you go-down-that-road!!!

      It is NOT Bermudian’s fault that it costs $80,000 PA – to reside at the West-Gate resort!! They have to run that “facility” like a lean-and-mean prison as it was intended to be!!

      PS: How much are prison officers paid every week??? Start trimming-the-fat there!!

    • Um Jus Sayin' says:

      AMEN! As a taxpayer, I am sick and tired of paying for our own criminals let alone these foreign criminals, deport ALL the foreign criminals, and create a stop list for Bermuda.

  4. Terry says:

    Actually; there is a guy in Tuckers Town who can answer all your queries.
    The other lives in Warwick.

    • Pete says:

      Well Terry
      If you know so much about the Tuckers Town / Warwick connections, Have you done your Citizenry duty and informed the due Authorities as to whom the persons are?? Then how much , and how have you come by this information ??

  5. Benny Trump says:

    Kill somebody and potentially get out in 15 years… Get caught with drugs and do 25 years… Anybody else think this is dumb?

    • Cranberry says:

      Send Antonio to Latvia too…

    • Um Jus Sayin' says:

      I agree. You have seized the drugs, they are off the streets. No one was killed as a result of these drugs being released on the public, and he gets 25 years. Yet, if you kill someone, a life is gone, never to return you may get 25 years, but only serve a portion of that time. EXTREMELY DUMB!!!

  6. MAKE MY DAY says:

    PS… They had better keep that $50 million worth of cocaine in a very *SAFE* place – before it disappears onto the “street” and someone retires a multi-millionaire to another location!!!

    Think it has NOT happened before??? $$$ is the *root* of-all-evil!!

  7. Pete says:

    Once again the Children in Bermuda were put at Risk. I find it amazing he so-calle found the drugs after being several days at sea.
    I question if he was so concerned why did`nt he dispose of the Drugs at sea?? at least turn the lot over to Bda Customs ?? Declare the Gun on his Declaration as normal procedure to Bda. Customs on arival ??
    Now has the aducity to so-call appeal, express concern about his Children, What about Bermuda children ??

    • Raymond Ray says:

      I agree Pete…Now as for you Terry, why don’t (or hadn’t) you done the right thing and informed the authorities about all that you claim to have knowledge of? “An empty can will always make a real loud noise”

  8. Go says:

    Big Russian boat was here last year…..probably scouting out the place, anyway get that stuff off this island. Don’t mess with the Russians supply…and if you keep it….keep the RAF here permanently…we’ll need it. Oligarchs mate.

  9. haha says:

    wouldn’t even wanna get out…russians got ya head once u leave bra