BVI News

Cocaine found on VG values over $30M, court hears | Local men granted $500K bail

From left: Simon, Brown, Vargas, and Ybarbia. (BVI News photo)

The street value of the cocaine recently seized on Virgin Gorda by the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) in collaboration with the US Coast Guard has been estimated at $30.9 million.

This was revealed when the four men arrested in connection with the massive drug bust made their appearance in the Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, October 31.

Two local men – 25-year old boat captain Nickel Simon and 36-year old government accountant Cryton Browne – as well as 40-year-old Wilferedo Lopez Vargas and 47-year-old Hober Morillo Ybarbia of Venezuela were all jointly charged with importation of a controlled drug.

The Venezuelans, however, have an additional charge of illegal entry.

Simon pleaded not guilty plea to the offence but his three co-accused reserved their right to plead at another time.

Allegations

The court heard that on October 27, the RVIPF received information of a vessel docking with a fishing boat about 20 miles north of St Croix in the neighbouring United States Virgin Islands.

The RVIPF along with Her Majesty’s Customs were deployed to Virgin Gorda while the US Coast Guard led a high-speed chase of the accused men on the sea.

It is alleged that during the chase, several suspicious packages were seen being dumped from the vessel while they were being pursued at sea. This was allegedly done at three locations that law enforcers subsequently marked using a global positioning system more commonly known as GPS. 

The reported pursuit ended in an area in North Sound, Virgin Gorda where the RVIPF were waiting, the court heard.

The court heard that the men had deboarded their vessel and allegedly attempted to evade law enforcers on foot by running inland. They were, however, captured. 

The joint task force operatives from the US and BVI then returned to the locations where the packages were said to be dumped and allegedly recovered 11 bales containing 276 blocks of cocaine weighing 309 kilograms. 

Search and interviews

It is reported that the accused quartet was later taken into custody and a search of the boat was conducted. However, nothing illegal was found, the court heard.

The next day, the men were transported to the Road Town Police Station on Tortola where they were interviewed under caution and charged.

Suspicious’ items at accused man’s home

The court further heard that a search warrant was executed at the homes of the accused local men.

Nothing illegal was found at Simon’s home. However, it is alleged that a money counting machine, a vacuum sealer among other items were found at Browne’s temporary home in Cane Garden Bay. Browne is from Virgin Gorda.

Bail

The Crown made no objection to bail for the local men but objected to bail for the Venezuelans because they had no fixed place of abode and no status in the territory.

As such, Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste-DaBreo offered $500,000 bail to the local men. Of that bail amount, the court ordered that $100,000 had to be in cash and the remaining $400,000 signed with sureties.

As part of their bail conditions, they are to surrender their travel documents and report to the police station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 6 am and 6 pm.

Defence attorneys Patrick Thompson and Reynela Rawlins represents Simon, while attorney-at-law Leroy Jones represented Browne, Vargas and Ybarbia.

The accused quartet’s respective matters were adjourned to November 26.

Notably, a previous RVIPF media release said the men were charged with possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply, engagement in smuggling a controlled drug, and human trafficking. 

Copyright 2019 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

25 Comments

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  1. LOL says:

    Leroy Jones? LOL lord might as well plea guilty one time.

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  2. strupes says:

    These men going get away

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  3. Big Money says:

    “36-year old government accountant Cryton Browne”

    Brown was crunching them numbers…

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  4. The Truth says:

    Cryton been eating good.

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  5. BA says:

    Name them one by one AMEN

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  6. Online Now says:

    Why would you give them bail on such serious charges?

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    • Lol says:

      What Serious Charge ? They didnt murder anyone. Smh

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    • Shorty says:

      Granting someone bail and the individual actually making bail are two different things. So in this case they were granted bail in the sum of $500,000 where they have to present $100,000 in Cash and $400,000 two surities. Unless they bawling like that and have 100k to give cash then being granted bail and actually posting bail are two separate matters. Who knows they can be guest of Her Majesty’s Prison because they were unable to post bail.

  7. LOL says:

    Brown look like he still has about 5 keys stuffed under his shirt LOL!

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  8. Deport says:

    Deport them, send them home! Came here on Earth to cause a mess. Oops, they from hereee! lol

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  9. Just shameful says:

    Government Accountant involve in the further tearing down of the Country.I am local and I don’t care if they are local,drop the hammer on their A**es real good. 30.9 million dollars in coke, bail should have been set at 1million each.

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  10. Star bright says:

    Those two better count their lucky stars they were not caught in USVI waters. You all keep playing with the Feds.

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  11. Me. Again says:

    @ just shameful. 30 mil. This is building up the country NOT Tearing down you DO. DOO. With that kind of $$$ or even some of it sirculating in our economy HOW CAN THAT BREAK DOWN ??? The “ stuff” only passing through here going where the price is higher . This is only a TRANSSHIPMENT point

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  12. Jus wondering says:

    Maybe I’m just imagining tings but it sure seems like a whole bunch of sketchy folks living in Cane Garden these days. Big amounts of cash, drugs etc just mysteriously finding its way onto boats. Maybe stuff like this happens because the popo never leave their building there and all sorts of stuff goes on in plain view. Probably just my imagination.

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  13. Game says:

    Ain’t for the weak

    • Billfargo says:

      The Earth is the Lords and they that dwell therein! The meek shall inherit the earth. So! You have to start somewhere. We are just experiencing a real life monopoly game so what is the big problem.

  14. Live Bait ?? says:

    Was the Fishing vessel intercepted too?

  15. lo says:

    Leroy Jones …..Oh Lord have mercy on these dudes!!!!!. l**–lawyer.

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