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Illegal immigrants squeal on alleged smuggler

Luc Eloi outside the court

By Davion Smith, BVI News Online Staff

A Haitian man accused of recently smuggling 21 illegal immigrants onto British Virgin Island (BVI) shores has be placed on remand.

Luc Eloi is charged with smuggling immigrants, possession of proceeds of criminal conduct, and illegal entry.

He was made to answer to the charges when he appeared before Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste DaBreo yesterday, April 25.

The court was told that Eloi was the co-captain of the vessel that ferried the illegal immigrants to the BVI.

The boat captain is still at large.

Meanwhile, the prosecution alleged that the accused Haitian collected some $1,400 to smuggle the immigrants from St Maarten to Virgin Gorda in the BVI.

Allegations are that, on April 10 this year, law enforcement officers found the group of illegal immigrants about 11:45am on Virgin Gorda.

While conducting investigations, law enforcers travelled to Major Bay on Tortola where they discovered a blue vessel, which they suspected was used to transport the immigrants into the Territory.

Moments later, they nabbed the accused Haitian, who allegedly was found carrying $1,400 cash.

He allegedly told police that he was picked up in St Maarten and transported into the BVI. He was subsequently arrested on suspicion of illegal entry.

The court was told that police later visited Her Majesty’s Prison and Maria’s by the Sea hotel, where they spoke with some of the illegal immigrants.

These immigrants reportedly gave detailed descriptions of the persons who transported them into the Territory.

Eloi, the accused, was identified as the co-captain of the vessel in question, while a ‘Mr Potter’ was said to be the captain.

Potter was not located, the court heard.

Identification parade 

Authorities conducted a subsequent identification parade and Eloi was positively identified.

He was formally arrested and charged.

In court yesterday, the prosecution objected to bail.

Magistrate Baptiste DaBreo said: “It is patently obvious that the same way he [allegedly] came here illegally is the same way he’ll come out… For those reasons he will not be granted bail.”

Eloi is scheduled to return to court on May 19 when he will plead to the charges.

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