Kuala Lumpur -- Three Mexican men were sentenced to death by hanging in a Malyasian criminal court today for drug crimes committed over four years ago. The High Court verdict was handed down at 9:45 a.m. Thursday, 8:45 p.m. in Mexico City. It was read in Malaysian by Judge Mohamed Zawawi, and simultaneously translated into Spanish for the defendants.
The accused are brothers Jose Regino Gonzalez Villarreal, 36, Simon Gonzalez Villarreal, 33, and Luis Alfonso Gonzalez Villarreal, 47, all from the western state of Sinaloa on Mexico's Pacific coast. Together with two Malaysians, they were arrested and charged in March 2008 with manufacturing and possessing methamphetamine and precursor chemicals (used to make the meth), and with narcotics trafficking. They have been in custody for four years. The men were detained only weeks after arriving in this southeast Asian nation. They worked in a Mexican brick factory before moving to Asia.
Prosecutors say the Mexicans and the two Asians were arrested with a large quantity of drugs and cash. If they are convicted, the only punishment under Malaysia's draconian drug laws is execution by hanging. Two other Mexicans detained in connection with the case were released for lack of evidence and deported months ago.
Defense attorneys have challenged forensic test results of the chemicals which were seized when the men were detained, and have alleged that about a third of the materials disappeared while in police custody, preventing the court's analysis of all the evidence. They have also complained about the man who has presided over the trial, known as Malaysia's "hanging judge" for the more than 100 death sentences he has imposed. Those arguments were rejected in an appeal to Malaysia's Federal Court last December.
At the men's trial in February prosecutors presented evidence that the defendants were in possession of 29 kilograms of methamphetamine when they were arrested in a shipyard warehouse, together with drug manufacturing equipment. The Mexicans testified that they had been hired to clean trash from the area where the contraband was discovered and had no knowledge of the drugs, but forensic testing indicated traces of the chemicals on their clothing and bodies. About a third of the meth disappeared after the arrest, causing defense attorneys to demand that the entire case be dismissed. That's one of the issues the judge will have to decide. Defense attorneys, who argued today that there was no evidence their clients had participated in the manufacture of the meth, said after the court session that they're "cautiously optimistic."
Malaysian drug trafficking laws are among the most severe in the world, and even the petty possession of narcotics can be punished by execution or a long prison sentence. In recent years courts have shown no mercy for foreign citizens charged with such offenses. Several have been hanged.
Mexicans will continue to go wherever there is work, no matter what the risks are. Opportunities are non-existent at home, unless you want to sling meth or kill people.
As long as the corrupt Mexican government and the elite of Mexico allow nearly half of their fellow Mexicans to be without hope, the risks of being robbed and raped or worse crossing the border, are better than what's available at home.
They better stay out of Singapore too and not be dropping any Mini Mamut wrappers from Dulcelandia either while they are at it or they'll be thrashed. They take that vey seriously there. Singapore, Malaysia is part of that huge network-meth highway- that the Colima Cartel and CDS use.
Making old excuses for Mexican criminals is a slander to all the Mexicans who are poor and work daily all over Mexico,there is no nobility in being a cancer on society,rich,poor,regardless of nationality.
I never made any excuses for criminals, I pointed out the as long as Mexico remains devoid of opportunity, people with seek work wherever they can find it. There's nothing wrong with that, and a large percentage will do any kind of work, no matter how difficult and how low payed, to avoid getting caught up in criminal nonsense.
The ironic thing about the Midnight Express story is that Billy Hayes would have never been caught, in Turkey at least, if the dumbass hadn't been carried a gun. He had it right in his waistband and when the bus he was on was searched, they saw the gun under his shirt and did a more thorough search and found the hash that was taped to his body.
I'm still unsure whether these guys in Malaysia really went there to cook meth. Their story about going to do manual labor sounds plausible.
I think Singapore went a little overboard in their successful efforts to clean up their country.
Sorry you are quite wrong my friend. The reason they are an economic powerhouse, the reason they have one of the highest quality of lives and one of the lowest crime rates in the world is because they are able to keep their citizens in check through the rule of law - of which they respect.
I do agree with you on one point and that was when they banned chewing gum
Oh, my mother is Singaporean and I travel there often for biz.
Singapore's draconian society is fine for a homogeneous city-state, but the tactics used by it's dictatorial government wouldn't work anywhere else in the world. I myself have a Bavarian attitude towards order, derived from ancestors who settled in Mexico 150 years ago, but I would never hope to instill my borderline OCD system on an entire society, except perhaps in Singapore. Of course Singapore is a powerhouse of a city and a country which is admired throughout the world, and rightfully so.
You can have a free society, or an orderly society, but you can't have both. Freedom is a messy business which many delinquents choose to take advantage of.
I lived in both singapore (loved it) and KL Malaysia (beautiful but scared me) after 911 we moved the hell out.
I know how things are and have written about it. This case smelled from the beginning and I will say my posts writing about the probability of these men being only guilty of being economic migrants promised a great salary and training in a skill they could use in their country of origin, were popular reposts in asia. commentors in agreement with what I wrote and I am yet to see a detractor.
BTW Once in Asia, the reality is they are slaves. This is a sad case. They should not have been executed, time in prison and deportation would have been a fair outcome.
Drattler is correct, it is a slap on the face to all Mexicans.
My family came from dirt poor beginnings yet through hard work and staying out of trouble they have managed to become a little more successful in life. I have asked them why these people choose this route and continously they tell me that it is out of choice and not necessity.
There are many opportunities in Mexico you just have to work hard for them and that is something many don't want to do.
"The Tea Bag Party has a 10-15% approval rating. Depending on who you ask. ja ja ja" The wise Ajulio.