The cellphone records of 37-year-old Little Dix Hill resident, Tambu Frett has reportedly indicated that he may be part of a recurrent smuggling operation between the BVI and the neighbouring US Virgin Islands, the Magistrate’s Court has been told.
Acting Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Tiffany Scatliffe-Esprit said this was according to a police probe that commenced after Frett was apprehended for breaking the curfew and smuggling a man into the BVI earlier this month.
She said: “The phone [data] shows that, before the incident, Mr Frett has been in the habit of transporting persons between the BVI and the USVI without the proper protocols of Immigration and Customs.”
The acting DPP shared these latest allegations with the court on Thursday while Frett awaited sentencing for the April 3 offences of Illegal Entry, Breach of Curfew and being Engaged in Smuggling.
New information undermines mitigation
Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards said this new information — which was revealed in a 26-page document — now undermines the mitigation arguments that was submitted to the court by Bolan’s attorney, Leroy Jones.
The court had been told in those arguments that Frett was only ‘helping out a friend of a friend’ and did not receive any compensation for the deed.
“The Crown is now alleging that Mr Frett not only did it for pay, but he has a smuggling operation. I have to know specifically what is Mr Frett’s position on what the Crown is now saying,” the senior magistrate stated.
She also said she read enough to understand that the reported phone data is suggesting “prior bad acts by Mr Frett”.
Third party involved in alleged smuggling operation
In response, defence attorney Jones said: “In terms of what transpired, before, I cannot fight or dispute that because I am [only] now aware of that and we are dealing with what transpired on the day [of April 3]”.
Jones then requested time to speak to his client and the owner of the dinghy on the matter.
Notably, the acting DPP said the phone data indicates that there was no direct communication between Frett and Bryan Bolan — the man he smuggled into the territory on April 3.
“The conversation was with an unknown party with a local number, not a USVI number,” Scatliffe-Esprit told the court.
And because of the information gleaned from Frett’s phone records, Scatliffe-Esprit said the Crown now wants his vessel forfeited to the state.
Frett’s matter was subsequently adjourned till April 30.
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