The Mississauga News reports…
“A well-known pastor and worship leader in Southern California accused of smuggling nearly nine kilograms of cocaine into Canada remains in a Milton jail desperately waiting for a surety.
Charlie Clark, 58, of Trabuco Canyon, California, remains in custody after a brief appearance in Brampton court today (Wed. Aug. 14) and has been forced to find a new lawyer because he has no money.
“Given the fact he is a U.S. national and was unable to have anyone come forward to retain me I was forced to halt my defence of him,” said defence lawyer Gary Batasar. “I certainly wish him the best and I hope he is ultimately vindicated.”
Clark was also denied bail because no one has shown up to act as his surety.
Last month, Canada Border Services Agency officers arrested Clark shortly after he exited a flight from Lima, Peru at Pearson International Airport.
During an inspection, customs officers found “anomalies” on a passenger’s suitcase. They opened the luggage and discovered about nine kilograms of cocaine, believed to be valued at more than $850,000.
The case was turned over to the RCMP.
Clark is charged with importing a controlled substance.
Clark, who lists himself as a pastor, educator and musician online, is the worship leader at First Presbyterian Church in Oceanside, California and also on the worship team at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest.
A parishioner at Saddleback Church described Clark as an “inspirational leader” in an online forum.
Batasar said last month that Clark was returning from an aid mission in Peru and was bringing items that were given to him in the South American country. Clark was planning on visiting congregations in Ontario.
Batasar said at the time that he believed the drugs were planted.”