From left: Nigel Registe and Kevin Greaves
The men charged in connection with the two unrelated drug busts on October 25 in the waters off Anegada and west of Guana Island were remanded to prison when they appeared before Magistrate Tamia Richards on October 30.
The men involved in the cocaine bust off Guana Island pleaded guilty to two of the charges, while the other men in relation to Anegada cannabis bust pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The bust off Anegada involved 567.72 kilos of cannabis at an estimated street value of $5.6M, while the bust off Guana Island involved 6.44 kilo grams of cocaine at an estimated street value of $640,000.
In relation to the bust off Guana Island, boat captain Nigel Registe, a native of Dominica residing on St. Thomas and crew member Kevin Greaves of St. Thomas pleaded guilty to illegal entry.
In relation to unlawful possession of cocaine with intent to supply, and unlawful possession of a control drug, Greaves pleaded guilty while Registe pleaded not guilty.
However, both men pleaded not guilty to the charges of supplying or offering to supply a control drug, and importation or being concerned with importation of a controlled drug.
Also, Greaves pleaded guilty to failing to declare monies to customs involving $13,504, while Registe pleaded not guilty to that charge.
Attorney-at-law Stephen Daniels appeared for both men.
Tiffany Scatliffe, Principal Crown Counsel who laid out the allegations against the men, said on October 25 around 4.00 pm officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and Customs Department were conducting marine patrol in the Territory´s water.
She said during the patrols, officers observed a white 18-foot go-fast boat in the area of Guana Island. She said the boat was travelling at a high speed towards Jost Van Dyke (JVD).
Scatliffe said the police boat `Defender´ gave chase with the siren activated and the go fast boat eventually stopped. Officers then docked alongside the boat and officers identified themselves to the occupants.
She said upon police request the men produced travel documents; however, nothing showed that they were granted entry into the territory by Immigration. She said the men however produced a customs marine control document, but the document only showed approval for entry and departure on October 8, 2012.
A search was then conducted on the vessel and during the search a black back-pack was found. After the officers unzipped the bag, they found six `brick like´ objects which they suspected to be cocaine. When questioned by police about the bag and its contents, the men did not reply. They were then arrested and the boat taken to the Police Marine Base.
According to Scatliffe, during separate police interviews, Registe admitted that he was the owner of the vessel but claimed that he had no knowledge of the items. He said that he was employed by Greaves.
Greaves on the other hand declined to answer questions relating to the items found on the boat. However, he later requested another interview where he told officers that he was hired by someone and he was instructed to go to Virgin Gorda and amongst other things he was to return to St. Thomas with the bag found and upon completion he would have been paid $6,000.00.
Scatliffe said while Greaves was being processed by forensic officers they found a white plastic bag containing $13,504.
Greaves had indicated to police initially that it was $9,500.
Magistrate Richards deferred sentencing in relation to charges the men pleaded guilty to until the completion of the trial into the other charges. She has also ordered that the cash be detained for three moths pending investigations by officers on its origin.
The men were remanded to prison and will return to court on December 5.
Men In Anegada Bust Were Heading To Antigua
Meanwhile, of the three men charged in relation to the drug bust off Anegada, only two appeared in court as one of the accused men took ill.
Scatliffe said Ralph James of Antigua is hospitalized and the doctor recommended that he not be taken to court today.
However, the other two men, boat captain Adrian Arthur of Barbados and crew member Glenroy Pierre of St. Vincent residing in Trinidad pleaded not guilty to the charges of illegal entry; supply or offering to supply a control drug; unlawful possession of a control drug; and importation or being concerned with importation of a controlled drug; and unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to supply to another.
Both men were without lawyers.
Scatliffe said it is alleged that on October 25 around 2.45 pm police were conducting patrols along North of Tortola when they saw a 50-foot sailing vessel some 14.4 miles south of Anegada.
From left: Glenroy Pierre and Adrian Arthur
Officers then came upon the vessel and noticed that it was not flying any sign or territorial flag. Officers then immediately made a check with customs where it was confirmed that the vessel had not obtained or applied for clearance from immigration or customs.
According to Scatliffe, officers then used the siren to stop the boat. Officers then boarded the vessel and introduced themselves to the men on board. Officers then inquired how long they were in the Territory, and Arthur who was at the helm of the vessel told the police that they were in the Territory for a few days and they did not request any clearance.
They were asked by the officers if anything illegal was on the vessel and Arthur said yes and stated, "Marijuana, plenty about 1,000 pounds."
Scatliffe said Arthur then invited to show the officers where the drugs were.
She said drugs were all over the vessel and they were packed in Hessian focus bags with smaller bags in it containing what was suspected to be cannabis. Scatliffe said the officers videotaped the escort by Arthur.
The men were arrested and the boat taken to Police Marine Base.
Scatliffe said upon investigations it was revealed that on August 31, 2012 the men were in the same vessel in Antigua where they requested leave to go to St. Maarten onward to Jamaica.
She said about two weeks ago they left Jamaica for the final destination being Antigua; however; they ran out of fuel and were experiencing mechanical difficulties in BVI waters. She said when police saw the boat the men were trying to repair the vessel.
The men were remanded to prison and will return to court on December 6.