Some $50,000 has been added to the public’s purse following the successful prosecution of a visitor who reportedly attempted to smuggle nearly $30,000 cash through the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport last month, the Customs Department has reported.
The visitor in question reportedly has been identified as Denwayne Renaud of Trinidad and Tobago.
While speaking on local radio this week, Deputy Commissioner of Customs, Leslie Lettsome said after law enforcers apprehended the visitor, police and Customs officers launched a joint probe.
“[We] were able to find out that the money was not legit … It was money from proceeds of crime, based on our investigation. That case was [then] handed over to the police who, in turn, took the matter to the court and the guy was prosecuted. The $30,000 was forfeited to the Crown and the guy was charged some $20,000 in fines,” Lettsome reported.
Lettsome said the fines have since been paid and the man released.
Unofficial reports say the cash in question was the proceeds of an illegal cockfighting operation.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Customs Commissioner has applauded the efforts of the Royal Virgin Islands Police as well as the efforts of law enforcement officers stationed at the territory’s airport on Beef Island.
He then cited Section 87 of the Customs Management and Duty Act, which says persons departing the territory must declare any cash amount that exceeds $10,000.
“We realised there was a challenge and we went to the extent to make sure that a form was generated so that anyone who wants to take in excess of $10,000 out of the country can come to Customs, where we’ll issue the form, and they fill it.”
However, Lettsome said persons must produce documentation supporting the source of the funds.
“You can’t just come with $10,000 or more and we accept it. We have to check the source of the money — whether you withdraw it from the bank or whatever … We have to make sure that it is legit money that we are signing off on.”
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