Claiming that he procured an illegal firearm for protection, 47-year-old businessman Allison Vanterpool yesterday told the Magistrate’s Court that his co-accused Jazz Freeman did not know about the gun for which both of them have been charged.
Police said they found the weapon, along with bullets and a relatively small quantity of marijuana, inside a vehicle in which both men were travelling two days ago.
The two are charged with carrying a firearm without a licence, unlawful possession of explosives, and unlawful possession of a controlled drug.
Freeman pleaded guilty to the drug-related charges, and not guilty to the firearm-related ones.
His co-accused, Vanterpool, told Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards: “This young man (Freeman) is truthful and had no knowledge of it (the gun). I take full responsibility for what happened.”
“I’ve already been robbed, my life has been threatened… I got the gun for protection,” added the businessman, who opted to get a lawyer before he answered to the charges.
In his effort to secure bail, Vanterpool told the court that he runs a business and has familial responsibilities.
“Put a foot bracelet [or a] tracking device [on me] – whatever it is… I would like an opportunity to deal with this matter on the outside,” the businessman said.
He was not granted bail.
However, Senior Magistrate Richards offered his co-accused, Freeman, bail in the sum of $70,000.
She ordered the 24-year-old Freeman to pay $15,000 of the bail amount up front. She also put him on a 9pm to 6am curfew, and ordered him to surrender his travel documents.
The senior magistrate further ordered Freeman to report to the Road Town Police Station on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 6am and 6pm.
Marijuana scent leads to gun
The court heard that, on July 25, police were on mobile patrol along Waterfront Drive in Road Town.
A cop who was patrolling on his motorcycle smelt burning marijuana emanating from a vehicle that was also being driven on the thoroughfare.
The officer on motorcycle rode alongside the vehicle and ordered the driver – Vanterpool – to pull over.
He, along with Freeman who was travelling in the front passenger seat, exited the vehicle.
Police then asked if they had anything illegal.
The accused men allegedly turned over a quantity of marijuana.
The cops then searched the vehicle and recovered a bag which Vanterpool allegedly said belonged to him.
While one of the law enforcers searched the bag, Vanterpool reportedly became rowdy and tried to grab it away. He had to be restrained, the court heard.
It is alleged that the police recovered a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and four rounds of ammunition during a further search of the bag.
Both men where taken into custody.
The court was told that Vanterpool accepted ownership of the weapon during a police interview.
Freeman, on the other hand, only admitted to having marijuana.
Both men are scheduled to return to court on September 11.
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