The three Hispanic men who were recently held with fake British Virgin Islands visas have been sentenced to 10 months at Her Majesty’s Prison.
Twenty-one-year-old Wilbin Encarnacion Rodriquez, 31-year-old Carlos Manuel Ventura Done, and 21-year-old Junior Manuel Mejia Aquino were also fined $600 each, which is to be paid forthwith.
Their fines have a default sentence of one month in prison.
Magistrate Shawn Innocent further ordered that the default sentence for the fine run concurrent (at the same time) to the mandated 10 months. That means the offenders will still serve a maximum of 10 months imprisonment even if the fine goes unpaid.
In handing down his sentence on Wednesday, Magistrate Innocent said he took several mitigating and aggravating factors into consideration.
Among the aggravating factors outlined was the assertion that the Hispanic offenders were attempting to fool local law enforcement.
Innocent said they told the authorities that they were crew members on a cargo boat when they, in fact, only wanted to gain illegal access to the territory via that medium.
He also mentioned the seriousness and prevalence of these types of offences in the territory.
On the other hand, he noted that they did not waste the court’s time and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity; which went in their favour as a mitigating factor.
The men were found aboard a Dominican Republic cargo vessel that was docked in the BVI recently.
Authorities were prompted to conduct a search of the vessel after a fourth crew member on the boat was caught smuggling himself on to Tortola.
The trio was subsequently arrested and charged.
Attorney Leroy Jones represented the men.
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