Caymanian businessman Bryce Merren has pleaded not guilty to charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.
At his arraignment hearing in the U.S. District Court for Puerto Rico on Friday, April 11, Mr. Merren waived the reading of the indictment and entered a not guilty plea to all three counts of conspiracy and attempt to possess and distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, as well as money laundering in connection with this alleged activity.
The parties have seven days for discovery and 14 days thereafter to file any motions, according to court documents.
Mr. Merren was arrested after a criminal complaint was filed on March 5, alleging he had met on several occasions with undercover investigators to set up a drug smuggling operation in Puerto Rico.
A probable cause affidavit by one of the undercover agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security alleges that confidential information received in July 2013 suggested Mr. Merren sought “to purchase approximately 3,000 kilograms of cocaine and establish a U.S. bank account in order to deposit drug proceeds and make an initial payment for the transportation of narcotics.”
A Grand Jury returned an indictment with the charges on April 3. The trial date has yet to be determined.