The nine-months-pregnant Venezuelan woman who was jointly charged with serious drug, gun, and Immigration-related offences was fined $1,000 in the Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old offender, Jessica Faronas Farinas, was ordered to pay the sum forthwith.
She appeared before Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin via a virtual hearing on October 13, charged with a total of four offences.
However, she only pleaded guilty to overstaying her landing permit.
As for the remaining charges of possession of 124.36 kilos of cocaine, possession of the drugs with the intent to supply, and possession of an illegal nine-millimetre handgun, she pleaded not guilty.
Her three other co-accused countrymen — Franklin Jose Garcia Ramirez, Iglesio Pineda Moises Gonzalez, and Luis Hector Gonzalez — have respectively outlined their role as it relates to the gun and the drugs so those charges against her were discontinued.
During Monday’s hearing, Luis pleaded guilty to the gun possession charge while Iglesio pleaded guilty to the drug-related charges.
Facts of the case
Presenting the facts of the case, Crown Counsel, Kael London said that on September 27, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force executed a search warrant at a home in Anderson Hill, Tortola.
During the execution of the warrant, London said the accused woman was found at the home and it was brought to the officers’ attention that her passport had an entry stamp dated in 2019 and an exit stamp of November 3, 2019.
After noticing that there was neither an indication of extension on the passport nor further exits or re-entry stamps, she was subsequently charged for overstaying in the BVI.
Farinas’ attorney, Stephen Daniels expressed to the court that his client is a mother of two and was presently 40 weeks pregnant and expected to give birth on Friday, October 16.
He said that Farinas came to the BVI on October 3, 2019 and was granted a one month stay.
After it was nearing her November 3 expiration date, he said she applied to the Immigration Department for an extension date, but was denied.
According to Daniels, his client decided to overstay as a refugee to escape from Venezuela. It was during that time she became pregnant for one of her co-accused.
Given the physical condition of his client, he proposed that a non-custodial sentence be handed to her.
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