Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards today denied bail to a trio found with more than $1.7 million worth of cocaine, a quantity of ammunition, two firearms and $2,768 cash at two apartments on Tortola.
Businessman Korrey Stoutt — a USVI native with Belonger status — was charged alongside Dominican Republic natives Jordy Vargas and Dr Yamell Medina Acosta.
Stoutt was charged with ‘Possession of the Proceeds of Criminal Conduct’, and ‘Landing Without Leave of an Immigration Officer’ but pleaded not guilty to those offences. Stoutt was further charged with Breach of Curfew. He pleaded guilty to that offence.
The businessman, in the meantime, was also jointly charged with the two other accused persons for Possession of a Controlled Drug With Intent To Supply To Another, Unlawful Possession of an AR15 rifle, possession of 10.736 kilograms of cocaine, and possession of a Nato 5.56 rifle With An Obliterated Serial Number.
They all pleaded not guilty when they appeared before the Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, May 27.
The court heard that on Saturday, May 23, police spotted Stoutt driving during curfew hours; heading to an apartment in Hannah’s Estate on Tortola.
He was reportedly intercepted and members of the police Armed Response Unit were summoned to assist before Stoutt was asked to exit the vehicle.
He was informed that he was in violation of the ongoing curfew, as well as other Immigration-related offences.
“I have been here all the time. I never left, I’ve been sick. I just lay low,” he reportedly responded.
Incriminating passport records?
While examining his passport, police reportedly retrieved a boarding pass bearing his name and the date, March 7, 2020. The boarding pass was from Tortola to the Dominican Republic.
A further examination of his passport revealed that the last recorded stamp of travel was an exit stamp from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico on May 7.
Police informed him that the BVI’s ports of entry were closed during that time. Further investigations, therefore, commenced into the matter.
Gun found at first residence
It is alleged that he was taken to his Fort Hill residence, where a search warrant was executed. During the search, a firearm was allegedly found. He was also taken to his apartment in Hannah’s Estate where another search was also conducted.
Stoutt claimed he did not live at the apartment in Hannah’s Estate. However, the two accused Dominican Republic natives who resided there allegedly refuted that claim and pointed officers to his room which had a photo of his wife, and contained some more of his belongings.
The court heard that a search commenced into his room and upon entering the room, Stoutt took a small grey bag containing travelling documents and a key to a Mercedes Benz and handed it to the police.
A bible containing the aforementioned cash was also found.
“That’s mine,” the accused businessman allegedly said.
Bricks of cocaine
It is also alleged that a cargo bag containing a number of bricks suspected to be cocaine was found next to his bed. He was reportedly asked who the bag belonged to, and he replied: “I have nothing to say.”
The other two defendants were also asked about the drug find, but they replied: “I don’t know anything about that.”
A further search uncovered a clear vacuum-sealed bag with a brick suspected to be cocaine and a container with an automatic rifle inside.
When cautioned, all three accused persons made no reply.
It is alleged that ammunition was also recovered for three types of guns. The search moved to the rooms belonging to Vargas and Acosta. Inside, a vacuum sealing machine and bags were found. When they were cautioned but made no reply, the court heard.
Night-vision goggles and satellite phone
Over in the living room area, police also found one night-vision goggles and a satellite cellphone on the TV stand. And like before, the trio denied knowledge of the items.
They were then transported to the Road Town Police Station, and detained pending further investigations.
On May 24, they were invited to witness the weighing of the drugs, which totalled 10.736 kilograms.
They were invited to be interviewed, but they made no comments and they were subsequently charged with the offences before the court.
Attorney-at-law Stephen Daniels represents Stoutt while Reynela Rawlins represents the accused Dominican Republic natives.
Vargas, who is 45 years old, has been residing in the territory for the past four years, the court heard. He has been employed as a phone technician, has two children, and no previous convictions.
Acosta — 33-years-old medical doctor — has one child and has been residing in the BVI for past five months and is employed as a personal assistant to a doctor. The court heard that she is serving as an assistant while she prepares to take her medical certification exam to practice in the territory.
The matter was adjourned to June 18.
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