Pilot/businessman denies trafficking Venezuelans, placed on $1.3M bail

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Days after a wanted bulletin was issued for him, Orlando Charles, a 45-year-old pilot, and businessman was placed on a total of $1.3M bail after he denied trafficking 16 Venezuelan nationals between a two-month period.

Charles of Lot 45 Main Street, Georgetown, appeared virtually before Magistrate Crystal Lambert at the Bartica Magistrate’s Court.

He was charged with 16 counts of Trafficking in Persons, contrary to Section 3(1)(i) of the Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act No. 2 of 2005.

The nationals were allegedly trafficked between March 2023 and May 15, 2023.

Charles pleaded not guilty to the charges. Bail was granted with the condition that Charles lodge his passport at the Bartica Magistrate’s Court.

The case was adjourned to June 14 for disclosure.

Police Headquarters on Monday said Charles allegedly trafficked the natioanls between the Mazaruni River in Region Seven (Cuyuni- Mazaruni) and Georgetown.

During the probe, Charles was placed on $100,000 station bail. However, he reportedly failed to return to the Police Station and a wanted bulletin was issued for him.

He subsequently reported to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).

According to the Police, the victims reported the matter to the Guyana Police Force, and members of the Trafficking in Persons Unit of the CID Headquarters immediately conducted an investigation.

The charges were laid in keeping with legal advice given by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

Editor’s note: This story initially stated that Mr Charles was charged with trafficking women. The News Room has since confirmed that he was charged with trafficking 15 men and one female cook. We have since amended the story to reflect accuracy. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.

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