The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dora L. Irizarry, U.S. District Judge
Petitioner Peter Germany ("Petitioner") is detained at the Queens Private Corrections Facility, 882-22 150th Avenue, Jamaica, by virtue of an Extradition Certification and Order of Commitment issued by United States Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy on February 28, 2006. The Extradition Certificate was based on Petitioner's two convictions, in absentia, in France for violating provisions of the French Penal Code, French Health Code, and the French Customs Code that prohibit the importation and distribution of narcotics. Petitioner now seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3184 and 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241 and 2242, alleging that the evidence presented by the United States government at the extradition hearings to support France's request for extradition did not establish probable cause that Petitioner was guilty of the crimes charged, and, therefore, that his detention violates due process. For the reasons set forth below, the petition is denied.
Petitioner has been tried and sentenced by the Republic of France, twice, both times in absentia. Those convictions, detailed below, led the French government to request Petitioner's extradition to France to serve his sentence.
The Judgment of September 17, 2004
France's request for extradition made on January 26, 2005 was based on a judgment rendered against Petitioner, in absentia, on September 17, 2004. In this judgment, the Tribunal de Grande Instance (High Court) of Aix en Provence, France, sentenced Petitioner to sixteen years in prison. (Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, ("Opposition") Exhibit D.1).
According to the evidence presented at trial, the French government's investigation of Petitioner started in early 2002. On or about June 15, 2002, Georges Sainte-Rose was arrested in Sainte-Anne, Martinique, and accused of importing 17.681 kilograms of cocaine into French territory. (Opposition 8).
After his arrest, Sainte-Rose told French law enforcement authorities and the examining magistrate that a man he knew as "Peter MacFarlene" was a part of the drug importation network. According to Sainte-Rose, MacFarlene asked him if he had any contacts in Paris who were interested in distributing cocaine. In exchange for finding a Paris based distributor, MacFarlene offered to help Sainte-Rose settle in St. Lucia (Opposition, Exhibit D.5).
According to Sainte-Rose, MacFarlene's organization uses fishermen to transport cocaine from St. Lucia to Martinique. In Martinique, MacFarlene and Christian Cardon picked up the cocaine and packaged it at Cardon's house. MacFarlene then cut the cocaine and turned it over to Sainte-Rose. Sainte-Rose then transported the cocaine to London and Paris. Sainte-Rose testified that the man he knew as MacFarlene is Petitioner. MacFarlene had the same physical description as Petitioner. Sainte-Rose told French authorities that he was able to identify Petitioner as MacFarlene because he received deliveries of the cut cocaine directly from Petitioner on several occasions. (Opposition, Exhibits D.5, D.7 and D.8). Sainte-Rose also knew Petitioner's telephone numbers and offered detailed information about Petitioner's car.
French authorities also apprehended and interrogated Cardon (Opposition, Exhibit D.6). Cardon stated that he had met MacFarlene in 1999 and that MacFarlene offered him a job picking up drugs delivered by fisherman and taking them to his house for packaging. According to Cardon, after the packaging, MacFarlene cut the cocaine and then turned it over to Sainte-Rose. (Opposition, Exhibits D. 6 and 8). Cardon told French investigators that he picked up the cocaine on the beach in St. Lucia three times, and the total quantity of cocaine he picked up was 39 kilograms. Cardon stated that MacFarlene was with him on the beach on two of the pickups. (Opposition, Exhibits D. 6 and 8). Cardon also identified Petitioner as the man he knew as MacFarlene.
At the trial, Cardon also testified to his role in the overall distribution scheme. Cardon stayed at Etap Hotel at MacFarlene's request. MacFarlene would arrive at the hotel before Cardon and leave a bag containing cocaine in the room in which Cardon was to stay. Cardon was responsible for collecting a 200,000 Franc payment for the cocaine from Luciano Papaya and two unidentified individuals. (Opposition, Exhibit D. 6). Papaya and Bernard Gleize also testified at the trial as to their role in the conspiracy and affirmed that they knew MacFarlene under the name of Peter. (Opposition, Exhibit D.7). As further evidence of Petitioner's involvement in the conspiracy, the French government introduced into evidence hotel receipts and airline tickets to demonstrate that Petitioner, under various aliases, traveled to France with Sainte-Rose and Cardon on four separate occasions (Opposition, Exhibit D.8).
In accordance with French procedure, the evidence presented by the French government convinced Magistrate Dominique Jaubert of the Tribunal de Grande Instance d'Aix en Provence to convict Petitioner of the crimes charges, in absentia. Petitioner was sentenced in absentia to sixteen years in prison.
The Judgment of July 12, 2005
France made a request for extradition on January 19, 2005, which was supplemented on February 9, 2005, and again on October 20, 2005. The original extradition request was made after a provisional arrest warrant was issued by the Créteil City High Court. Petitioner was arrested in this district on that warrant. Even though the request for extradition had not yet been granted, the Créteil City High Court tried Petitioner in absentia. On July 12, 2005, the court found Petitioner guilty of criminal conspiracy to import and distribute drugs and sentenced him, in absentia, to ten years in prison. (Opposition, Exhibit C.9). Once Petitioner was found guilty, the request for extradition was supplemented to reflect this fact.
In the trial that resulted in the July 12, 2005, judgment, the French government presented the following evidence: As a result of a seizure of 3.125 kilograms of cocaine that originated from Martinique at Orly International Airport in Paris, French authorities launched an investigation that led them to Eric Matime whose cellular telephone conversations were monitored. (Opposition 4). Subsequently, twelve kilograms of cocaine were found in Matime's home. Matime was arrested and cooperated with the investigation. Matime testified that he was an intermediary in a cocaine distribution network headed by Petitioner that imported cocaine from Martinique to France. (Opposition, Exhibit C.3). Matime led the police to Rene Paul Dufrenot, another cooperating co-defendant, who also described Petitioner as the head of the drug distribution network. (Opposition, Exhibit C.4). Matime was a middleman between buyers in France and sellers in Martinique. Both Matime and Dufrenot testified that Dufrenot gave cocaine to Matime who, in turn, stored the cocaine in his home and distributed the cocaine to other middlemen who eventually imported it to France. For his work, Matime was paid 50,000 Francs. (Opposition, Exhibit C.5). Matime knew of Petitioner's role as head of the network through Dufrenot who acted as an agent of Petitioner. (Opposition, Exhibit C.5). Matime knew that Petitioner lived in St. Lucia and worked with a man named Marc who also lived in St. Lucia. (Opposition, Exhibit C.3 and 5). According to Matime, the cocaine found in his home originated with Petitioner. (Opposition, Exhibit C.5).
The French government wiretapped certain telephone conversations between Matime and a creole male whom they ultimately determined to be Petitioner. (Opposition, Exhibit C.5). In these conversations, Petitioner spoke with an English accent and introduced Dufrenot as his lieutenant in Martinique. (Opposition Exhibit C.5). Petitioner also stated that he was worried about the cocaine reaching Paris. Id. Matime believed that these conversations demonstrate that the cocaine found in his home originated with Petitioner.*fn1 (Opposition, Exhibit C.9).
When Dufrenot was taken into custody, he stated that he was the individual on the wiretaps and he was speaking with "Marc, the Saint Lucian . . . his real first name is Peter."
(Opposition, Exhibit C.4). Specifically, Dufrenot testified that he met an individual known as "Marc" while in jail in Fort-de-France in 1992-1993. (Opposition, Exhibit C.4). After his release from prison, Dufrenot was reacquainted with Marc and Marc asked him to transport ten kilograms of cocaine to France. Dufrenot refused to transport the cocaine but got Matime to do so. Dufrenot remained involved in the conspiracy and Marc paid him 700 Euros to pick up ten packages of cocaine from a man named "Jean-Luc" (Opposition, Exhibit C.4). Matime and Dufrenot picked up the cocaine together. Marc then left for England. Id. Dufrenot told the authorities that this was his first and only interaction with this drug distribution network. Id.
Several days later, Dufrenot was interviewed again. The authorities hoped to pin down the identity of Marc and accused Dufrenot of being purposely vague. Id. Under interrogation, Dufrenot testified that Marc's "real name it is Peter Germany. It is a St. Lucian man. He is head of the network." and that he was an agent of Petitioner (Opposition, Exhibit C.4). Dufrenot proceeded to map out the entire network, including his role, which was much more involved than he had previously let on.*fn2 ...