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Former marine officer held with $225K ‘unaware’ he had to declare funds

Local Customs officers at sea.

A man who was attached to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force Marine Unit for six years said he was unaware that he had to declare funds exceeding $10,000 to Customs officials when travelling.

David Hodge of Road Town and Elvis Thomas of Sea Cows Bay are jointly charged with failing to declare monies to Customs and landing without leave from an Immigration Officer.

The duo allegedly committed the offence back in 2011 while coming from St Thomas in the neighbouring US Virgin Islands (USVI).

They reportedly entered at the Cleaning Hole near Fort Burt Marina on Tortola around minutes after 10 pm, and was allegedly caught with $225,000.

The two had also been charged with ‘unlawful importation of goods at a place other than a Customs port’. However, that matter is said to be dismissed.

‘I was unaware’

During their trial on Tuesday, prosecutors asked Hodge whether he had a background in law enforcement, to which he responded, “Your Honour, is this relevant?” He then affirmed that he was.

Hodge was then asked whether he had to familiarize himself with certain laws pertaining to his work as a marine officer. He told the court that he could not recall.

Hodge, however, told the court that part of his duties was to patrol the territory’s borders and deal with illegal immigrants.

He further said he did not agree with the prosecution’s suggestion that he knowingly came into the territory after all ports were closed because he wanted to conceal the near-quarter million sum he was carrying.

Hodge noted that the Cleaning Hole did not have an Immigration office but it fell under the jurisdiction of the Road Harbour, which is approximately half-a-mile away from Road Town.

He said he intended to drive there (to Road Town) to check-in that night, had he not been arrested.

I had options

Thomas, his co-accused, reminded the court in his testimony that he had the option of going home that night and had up to 10 hours to check-in with Immigration, being that he is a Belonger to the territory.

He told the court that although he has been deemed a disabled man for years now, he had planned to instruct a driver to transport him to Road Town to seek out an Immigration officer, as required by law.

Thomas said the circumstances of the night in question was a ‘one-of-a-kind occasion’ and, as a frequent traveller between the USVI and the BVI, he always entered at an official port of entry where he would be processed.

Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards is expected to enter a verdict in their matter on November 6.

Defence attorney Stephen Daniels is representing the accused men.

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

29 Comments

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  1. JAIL THEM says:

    Oh please…look at the l—! Jail these people…and throw away the key…too much people involved in d—- and money l———- in this country. Lord expose all of them and get them off our streets…those who high and those who low and those in between. Time for this place to be cleaned up and cleaned up good.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Didn’t the government take the $250k like they take foreigners money or because he’s a belonger he is treated special. By the way where does a government worker get $250k in cash.

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    • Anonymous says:

      WHERE DID HE GET THE MONEY??? You all care how long it’s been. WHERE DID HE GET THE MONEY? Foreigners you take their money immediately and give them a giant fine or put them in jail. Let’s see what a “belonger” gets. Slap and the wrist and don’t do it again or be more careful so you don’t get caught. Should be interesting as it’ll support the islands racism and bigotry towards all with the wrong last name.

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    • jokers says:

      These fools have been in and out of the court for this offence for a few years. I was in there one day and heard their case and could not believe the way this duo acted infront of the magistrate. The key needs throwing away, these guys are just a—– the system.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    The proceeds of a trillion dollar, on demand, business?

    While all hard working and honest folk can only earn enough to pay bill and “exist.”

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  3. Retired says:

    All the countries in the Caribbean have the same clearing in procedure when a vessel arrives in that country’s waters after normal business hours – STAY ON THE VESSEL. Do not go ashore, do not unload cargo, stay aboard. The following morning the captain should move the vessel to the correct port of entry, go ashore to Customs & Immigration to clear in the vessel, cargo and crew. It’s not that complicated!

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  4. VI gyal says:

    Why this case took so long now? We drawn out everything

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  5. Richgdgy says:

    Get rid of the drugs and the crime will diminish!

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    • Not at all! says:

      Crime will go up if that ever happens. Trust me!

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    • @Richgdgy says:

      Some beg to differ with that notion.

      Have any knowledge of the history of alcohol and the prohibition of it?

      In our time, “weed” is currently evolving through the indentical human debates as alcohol was a hundred years ago.

      Moreover, alcohol has caused every conceivable crime and harm to mankind than weed ever has.

      “One has to learn from history. Quite frankly, it is almost impossible to have a sense of vision without a sense of history. If history is learned, then it doesn’t have to repeat itself over generations,” matters not the issue, legal or illegal, drugs, politics, race or other.

      Fact: reduce the demand for drugs, legal and illegal.

      How? by changing mankind total environment and his natural and psycholoical inclination towards mind altering experiences.

      Happy pondering how to.

      To end, where there is the human mind, there will be a demand for mind altering, physical, psychological and emotional experiences.

      Lastly, it is a false assertion, not evidenced in verifiable research, that drugs lead to more crime than any other human, legal or illegal, activity.

      Some say they are crazy! They are on drugs! Others beg to differ. There are multitudes who are “stir modder” crazy and have never touched a drug.

      Those are the notions of the misinformed, unread and unknowing. The wise does not educate her/himself from media misinformation.

      Seek knowledge from reputable sources before seeking to inform others.

  6. Me says:

    Damn!!!!!…7 years to bring this to trial. Totally unacceptable. What is going on in the DPP office? Why is the justice system taking so long. At least they are still on island to face the consequences.

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  7. Please says:

    The BVI court system is so corrupt allegedly. Why did this case simple and clear cut had to take seven years to come to trial. Do you know what could happen to witnesses and evidence in that time.

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  8. Colis says:

    Why it took 7 years to hear this matter?

  9. May says:

    the Creator of the heavens and the earth bless those who suffer from the disease caused by the products of the business, and bless the victims.

    May the financial beneficiaries in the industry contribute to those suffering from their business.

    Make an anonymous financial contribution to the dependency ward at the hospital.

  10. What!!! says:

    After seven years waiting for the courts one would think thst these guys could have made up a better story.

  11. Look S**t says:

    The i was unaware defense. Bentley my Maltese knows that law.

  12. Lol says:

    If you get rid of the drugs, ppl.will find something else to get high on. Drugs are not the issue, ppl are. If you get rid of weed, ppl will find there way to the wax, or another mind altering herb like salvia divinorum, hayahuasca etc… get rid of coke and then users will be on acid, shrooms, meth etc. Dont be surprised if ppl dont start abusing nhi to fill prescriptions for certain drugs. Weed and cocain are only coming through here because of the mass of people that consume it…. the drug dealer simply.makes it available, majority of them dont even use…..whether u like it or not its reality.

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  13. Nonsense says:

    Who is a government employee? Read the headlines!!!!! PURE nonsense. We in 2018, when did money become a crime!!!!

  14. Nonsense says:

    Why should he drive to Road Town Customs when he could have sail the boat directly to the dock that is no excuse to the law. Both men know what they was doing.4,

  15. Brad Boynes says:

    They are dealing with a parasitic and symbiotic relationship between good and evil. There is nothing necessary about EVIL. Let that sink in for a special moment.

  16. Duh says:

    This isn’t money for drugs on Island this is money for —– going by the island. We can and should make weed legal in the BVI but people will still be running drugs for South American’s. There are many on island who not only make a tidy profit out of this but share the wealth so people don’t tell. If you ain’t part of it then you are probably not a BVI Islander or related / relationship to one.

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  17. de silent one says:

    That guy who said he was a marine police, really think that any body much less the court to believe his story about not aware of the laws as it relates to entering the territory from a foreign country. He need to be sent to jail. He dam A$$

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