A Malaysian court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by three Mexican brothers of their convictions and death sentences for drug trafficking.
The men still have one more opportunity to appeal to Malaysia’s highest court after a Court of Appeals rejected their bids to be released.
The Mexicans from Sinaloa state were arrested at a secluded Malaysian drug-making factory in 2008 and said they had been cleaning the place.
Police found more than 29 kilograms (63 pounds) of methamphetamine worth 44 million ringgit ($15 million) at the factory where they were working as maintenance men. The owner of the factory and others were set free. The men had only been in Malaysia for a couple of months.
Malaysia’s High Court convicted the brothers — Jose Regino, Simon and Luis Alfonso Gonzalez Villarreal — of drug trafficking in May 2012. The crime carries a mandatory penalty of death by hanging.
Defense lawyer Kitson Foong said the men and their family were “keeping their hopes high” that their final appeal will succeed.
The Mexican government said it will continue to help fight the sentence because, despite a guilty verdict, the country opposes such form of punishment. It said the embassy there will be reviewing the defense appeal that will be filed in the next few days.
“Mexico’s government regrets that Malaysia is upholding a death sentence against the Gonzalez Villarreal brothers,” says a statement by the Foreign Relations Department. “It will exhaust its legal resources aiming to revoke the death sentence.”
The brothers are the first Mexicans held in Malaysia on drug trafficking charges. They worked making and selling bricks in Mexico, and their family said they left for a job opportunity abroad.
The Mexicans come from the state of Sinaloa, cradle of their country’s drug trade, but have no criminal record at home. Their relatives insist there was no sign they were involved in the drug trade. AP
|family gets the news
My husband and I have worked our business in the Pacific Rim for 3 decades. Beginning with Taiwan we have lived in several of the Asian countries, including KL Malaysia. Malaysia is a Muslim country and one with the majority of citizens hating Americans. Some of the architectural meetings for the 911 tragedy were held in Malaysia, after 911 we sold our offices and home and moved out of the country
It was in Malaysia that I first learned of a practice of servitude being conducted there.
Servitude or debt bond slavery is practiced in two ways. One is a head hunter in Mexico, or Central America recruits workers with promises of high paying jobs that contract for a year. They promise training that they will cultivate a career out of and return to their country with. They agree and are taken to an Asian country and passports taken away, and the men or women are “resold” or a recruiter will find workers for a direct transfer.
This practice is slavery. Money is never paid because there always is a “debt” to repay, for travel, food, and housing. They do not have; freedom to leave the premises at their choosing, money, or passports. They are told they will be severely punished if they go to the police because they are in the country illegally. They speak Spanish, which is one of the reasons they are attractive to those who entrap them, it limits who they communicate with. This can continue for years even decades. They are threatened, beaten, women are raped.
When I heard of this story
of this story and when journalists travelled to Sinaloa to get a sense of the brothers only to find zero criminal history or ties, and that a man at the soccer field was telling them about these high paying jobs, everything clicked with me. I highly doubt that these men knew they were going to work with drugs. And forget Sinaloa Cartel running drugs in Malaysia or any Asian country with the Triads in control. Mexican cartels buy the precursor from Asia and make drugs in Mexico or Central America not cut into the business of the Asian mafias at their homefront.
It appears that Muslim countries are the guiltiest of this shameful practice, but also Asian countries. The Philippines, Bangladesh and other impoverished countries are affected. Young women and teens are promised modeling jobs which turn out to be the sex trade.
The fact that no one but the brothers ended up taking the rap, after being there for such a short period of time, and the tampering of evidence, along with other facts leave a strong doubt of their guilt. But that is typical in Malaysia the big fish never fry, just little patsies like these brothers. Their downfall surely was not helped by public opinion that they were from Sinaloa; there has never been a connection to CDS or any cartel with the brothers.
I concede it is difficult for one to understand this practice, without living there and seeing it for yourself, or know of someone who has.
Even if guilty of running the machines or cleaning them, they certainty do not deserve death. In Malaysia they hang people even for Marijuana. Yet capital punishment has done nothing to curb the drug problem or any crime, for a couple of years a momentum has grown to abolish it because it has not help with crime. As previously stated it is seldom the drug trafficker or person heading the operation that is convicted. And in other cases this prosecutor is under scrutiny for fabricating evidence and destroying evidence that would exonerate. Evidence was lost and tampered with in this case as well. Mexico is a “Tier2” country in Involuntary Servitude abuse. the lower the number the most abuse. They are in with countries like Libya Sudan and Russia. The chart below depicts the worse offenders, tier 3 on the watch list: