Rave Radio: Offline (0/0)
Email: Password:
News (Media Awareness Project) - Canada: Nicaragua Hemp Farm Will Live On, Says Hamilton-area
Title:Canada: Nicaragua Hemp Farm Will Live On, Says Hamilton-area
Published On:1999-01-10
Source:Canadian Press (Canada)
Fetched On:2008-09-06 16:06:47

HAMILTON (CP) - The owner of a hemp farm in Nicaragua says he isn't about
to pull the plug on the operation - even though it landed his partner in
jail. Nicaraguan officials have destroyed the crop and threatened to
extradite Grant Sanders and his five Canadian associates. They all face
criminal charges for cultivating marijuana.

The businessman from nearby Ancaster, Ont., said he hopes to clear his name
and return to Nicaragua to resume the hemp project, which he said could
grow into a multibillion-dollar business worldwide.

Earlier this week, Nicaraguan Judge Orieta Benavides ordered Sanders, 35,
and six other partners in Hemp Agro International to stand trial on
suspicion of growing marijuana on a 100-hectare plantation outside Managua.

One of the partners, Paul Wylie, of Burlington, Ont., has been held in a
squalid jail cell since Nicaraguan police arrested him at gunpoint on last
Dec. 23.

"Our first priority is to exonerate ourselves at the criminal level, free
Paul Wylie, and continue growing industrial hemp as we had planned to do,"
Sanders said in an interview on Friday.

"We have not given up."

Wylie, 45, was recently transferred from a jail in the centre of Nicaragua
known as the "bunker" to another facility, where he is the only foreigner
among the inmates, said Sanders.

He described the conditions as unsanitary, with little food and areas of
open sewage.

Wylie, who has had no contact with his family in Canada, is allowed one
15-minute visit each week with his Nicaraguan girlfriend, who brings him
food, said Sanders.

Following Wylie's arrest, police burned down the plantation.

The other partners - including Nicaraguan Oscar Danilo Blandon who is
believed to be in the U.S. - were out of the country at the time of the
raid. The Canadians - Stanley Ross, Don Malman, Jamie Dean, and Garry Wade
- - are all of Vancouver.

Sanders said the charges are largely political and probably stem from his
association with Blandon, who is a controversial figure in Nicaragua, with
a record for cocaine trafficking in the United States.

Blandon was one of the founders of the Contra guerrilla movement which
waged a eight-year civil war against the previous Sandinista government.

In a book entitled Dark Alliance, it's alleged that Blandon was working
with the CIA and sold tonnes of crack cocaine in the United States to raise
money for the counter revolution in Nicaragua.

Sanders said Blandon still has a lot of contacts with the current Liberal
government in Nicaragua and was able to open doors for the Hemp Agro partners.

He said, however, there are still Sandinistas in the military and national
police who might have old scores to settle with Blandon.

Police spokesman Carlos Bendana said the other Canadians involved in Hemp
Agro will be arrested on the spot if they set foot in Nicaragua again.

Bendana also said the authorities might try to have them extradited for
Member Comments
No member comments available...