3 Mexican brothers lose Malaysia court drug appealBy AP News Aug 15, 2013 12:21PM UTC
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — 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.
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.