Camille W. King, the captain
Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
The captain of the speed boat where two illegal, loaded firearms were discovered at Frenchman's Cay on July 19 has taken responsibility for the weapons, but has claimed that there was no intention of causing harm on Tortola.
The captain, Camille W. King, 33 of St. Thomas and his two passengers, Kimo Inniss, 21 of St. Croix and Germaine O. Bell Jr., 22 of St. Thomas were arraigned in court yesterday, July 23. The captain pleaded guilty to all the charges, while the other men pleaded not guilty to the firearm and ammunition charges, but guilty to landing in the Territory without leave from immigration.
The weapons were a glock 26 and smith wesson, and there were a total of 35 rounds of ammunition.
King pleaded guilty to three counts of unlawful possession of explosives; landing in the Territory without leave from an Immigration Officer; two counts of unlawful possession of an unlicensed firearm; two counts of importation of a firearm; three counts of importation of explosives; and unlawful importation of goods at a place other than a customs port.
Following King's guilty plea, the crown offered no evidence on the firearm and ammunition charges against Inniss and Bell, hence those charges were dismissed. However, they will be sentenced on the landing charge to which they pleaded guilty.
King told the court that on the day in question, they never planned to come to Tortola; however, it was due to the fact that they ran out of fuel. He said given that they were in close proximity, Inniss indicated that he knew someone on Tortola who could help them get fuel. Inniss telephoned the person as they reached close to West End and they were promised help.
"I did not come here to cause any tension like what people are thinking...We needed fuel and we stopped here...," King said.
He also stated that he is only pleading guilty because he is the captain of the boat and is responsible for whatever is on it. He further claimed that he has no idea about the firearms and ammunition, but he is being a man and will plead guilty. King said they did not enter the cabin where the guns and ammunition were found.
Magistrate Tamia Richards interjected and told King that it was not a good enough reason for him to plead guilty.
In response, King said, "I honestly cannot tell ayo how they got there...but I just want to get over this thing. I am being a man about this situation. I am the captain and I am responsible for whatever is on the boat, including these men safety," he said.
Inniss echoed the same position of King and stated that they did not come to the BVI to stay, but were seeking fuel and he knew someone who could have assisted.
King's wife, Jennifer King pleaded with the Magistrate to have mercy on her husband. She said that he is a sweet person, but sometimes he makes stupid decisions. "He means no harm. I know he is sorry for what he did, but he just has difficulty expressing himself."
The tearful woman who is a store manager on St. Thomas, said he is a good father to his children. "Please don't hold his attitude and tone of voice against him; he means no harm. Please have compassion and mercy on him. I know you have your job to do, but if not for him, for my sake and the children's sake."
She said he does fishing and construction work for a living. She also noted that the boat that was seized does not belong to him and the owner wants it returned.
Kardijha Moise, 19, the girlfriend of Bell told the court that he is a helpful person and takes good care of her daughter, who is a baby, and his grandmother. She said his grandmother is in need of him.
The men remain on remand and will be sentenced on August 2.
Senior Crown Counsel Christlyn Benjamin said on Thursday, July 19, members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) were on mobile patrol duty when they received a report of three male persons removing items from a white boat in Frenchman's Cay in the area of the mangroves.
L-R: Germaine Bell and Kimo Inniss
Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
Police officers visited the area where they observed the three male persons exiting the mangroves and upon further observation, saw three boats moored.
The men walked towards a rental vehicle and then officers approached the individuals and identified themselves as Police Officers dressed in plain clothes.
The officers then requested to see their IDs and this was produced and showed that they were all US citizens residing in the USVI.
King told officers that he was the captain of one of the boats moored in the mangroves. He told officers that they were sailing around St. John when the boat ran out of fuel. King told Police that they came ashore Frenchman's Cay to buy fuel and Inniss knew someone on the island who would have assisted.
Bell and Inniss were then taken to the Police Station, while King and another Police Officer went to the boat where a search was conducted. The officer opened a hatch in the cabin's floor where he observed two loaded firearm magazines. Both men immediately exited the boat and the forensic team was called in.
The firearms were found in the cabin area on a ledge.