Photo Credit: Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News
A Puerto Rican (PR) man is claiming that it was as a result of a joyride that he ended up in the BVI illegally. Today, September 19, Ramon Santiago, 37, pleaded guilty to illegal entry before the Magistrate's Court after he was nabbed in the area of the Baughers Bay dock.
According to prosecution, on September 14 around 10:45 pm, police were on mobile patrol and when they reached in the vicinity of Pearla's Bar, which is adjacent to the Baughers Bay dock, the officers observed a XL7 jeep driving out from the dock, heading towards the main road.
It was stated by Prosecutor Leslie Ann Faulkner that the officers observed that a male person who was inside the jeep moved from the front to the rear, and then exited the jeep and ran onto the Baughers Bay dock.
Faulkner said the individual ran to the dock with something clutched to his chest, jumping into the sea.
The officers chased the person, who was described as 5"10, 145 pounds and wearing a white vest.
She said while officers were searching for the individual, an officer went to the vehicle and met Santiago sitting in the jeep. The defendant stated that he was dropped off by a friend, who brought him to the island on a boat and left him.
In the back seat of the jeep, officers found a bag which contained a US passport with the name Ramon Santiago, who was identified as the defendant.
Officers later carried out enquiries with the Immigration Department which revealed that there was no record of the defendant entering the Territory legally.
Meanwhile, during plea in mitigation, Attorney-at-law Ruthilia Maximea said her client is a US national of Puerto Rico and is employed as an electrical contractor.
She explained to the court that at the request of friends while on his mini-vacation in St Thomas, he travelled to the BVI as part of a joyride to Willy T.
"Having completed the joyride, the captain got hungry and he decided to get something to eat, hence the reason for being in the area of Pearla's. Only the captain and a friend disembarked the boat at that time. The defendant was told if he wanted to eat he had to go and collect the food."
Maximea said that her client is sorry for what occurred and communicated to her that he has no reason to enter the Territory illegally.
She asked for Santiago not to receive a custodial sentence.
He was remanded to prison and will be sentenced on September 27.