Trinidad and Tobago natives Rachelle Emrith and Allan Birju have admitted that the total US$67,538 found in their possession at a British Virgin Islands airport is the proceeds of criminal activity.
They made the confession while answered to charges in the Magistrate’s Court today, July 14.
Emrith pleaded guilty to three of five offences before Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards, while her co-accused Birju pleaded guilty to one of three.
The 28-year-old accused woman pleaded guilty to possession of proceeds of criminal conduct, failing to declare monies to Customs, and engagement in smuggling.
She however pleaded not guilty to assisting another to retain the benefit of proceeds of criminal conduct, as well as engagement in smuggling with 48-year-old Birju.
Birju, in the meantime, pleaded not guilty to engagement in smuggling with the accused woman. He also pleaded not guilty to assisting another to retain the benefit of proceeds of criminal conduct.
Birju however pleaded guilty to possession of proceeds of criminal conduct.
The accused duo was placed back on remand, pending their trial next Friday, July 21. They are being represented by attorney-at-law Stephen Daniels.
The prosecution alleged that members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force were called to the Terrence B Lettsome International Airport on July 4.
They had received reports that the two accused were attempting to leave the BVI with large quantities of United States currency.
When authorities searched Emrith, they reportedly found $58,050 taped to her waist, sides, and back. During a police interview, she reportedly said: “Officer, I have a young child to feed. I did not know I had to declare the monies. Things are hard in Trinidad… Please give me break.”
She reportedly named Birju as an accomplice.
Meanwhile, the authorities claimed that they held Birju with $9,488. He reportedly had the cash in a pair of shorts he was wearing under a pair of long jeans pants. Some of the cash was also found allegedly inside the pants pockets.
Birju allegedly claimed that he accompanied Emrith to the BVI, and that most of the cash found belonged to her.
During a subsequent interview at the Road Town Police Station, however, the accused man reportedly claimed that he brought the money from Trinidad, adding that he was not an accomplice to the Emrith.