Local authorities have apprehended even more persons with fake British Virgin Islands visas.
Like the previous two cases, these newest fake visa carriers are also from the Dominican Republic.
They have been identified as 21-year-old Wilbin Encarnacion Rodriquez, 31-year-old Carlos Manuel Ventura Done, and 21-year-old Junior Manuel Mejia Aquino.
They all pleaded guilty during their arrest appearance before Magistrate Shawn Innocent on Tuesday.
The Hispanic trio was found working aboard a Dominican Republic cargo vessel that was docked in the BVI.
The court heard that local law enforcement officers were prompted to conduct a search operation on the vessel after another employee on the same boat – Angel Rafael Mena Collado – was caught smuggling himself on to Tortola for cigarettes.
The three men were each found with a fake document On October 29 and were subsequently arrested and charged.
Local officials noted that the visas were indeed fake when the word ‘Islandas’ was used instead of the word ‘Islands’ in ‘British Virgin Islands’.
Furthermore, the type of visas that the men used should have been ‘crew’ visas, however, they bore ‘tourist’ and ‘BVI employee’ type visas.
During a subsequent police interview, the trio denied knowledge that their documents were counterfeit.
The attorney for the trio, Leroy Jones, told the court that the men were remorseful and were led to believe that their visas were genuine — the same arguement he used for previous fake visa offenders.
He pleaded with the court to show mercy and impose a fine as opposed to a custodial sentence on his clients.
Prosecutors, however, urged the court that the matter has become prevalent and one of a serious nature.
They urged the court to ‘assist in securing the territory’s borders’ when handing down the sentence.
The Spanish-speaking offenders will return to court on Wednesday for sentencing.
At least seven fake visa cases in last few months
In the meantime, the trio had also been charged with furnishing false information and uttering forged documents.
However, the Crown indicated that they had no evidence to offer for those two charges and, as such, the court dismissed those offences.
These latest offenders bring the count to at least seven in relation to the number of Dominican Republic natives found entering the BVI with fake visas.
Two were held at the TB Lettsome Airport last week with fake visas. There matter is still being dragged through the court.
Another pair was held back in March have since been sentenced to prison.
Copyright 2019 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.