Two men who were allegedly caught aboard a vessel with half-million dollars in cash this month have been granted $100,000 bail in the Magistrate’s Court.
Charged with failing to declare monies to Customs is Gerome Nibbs of the BVI and St Vincent national, Zibert Morgan.
Nibbs pleaded not guilty when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards on Monday while his co-accused deferred answering to the charge until a subsequent court appearance.
The court heard that on December 21 this year, the Police Marine Unit was on its way from Road Town in Tortola to Virgin Gorda.
It was during that time that they reportedly noticed a go-fast boat on the southeastern coast of Tortola manoeuvring through the round rock passage and heading towards East End.
The police reportedly stayed behind the vessel and intercepted it sometime later.
It is alleged that the two accused men were the only occupants of the vessel, and when asked the purpose of their trip, Nibbs, who was the captain, said he was testing the vessel.
When they were asked to provide identification, they were reportedly unable to do so. It is also reported that the men said ‘no’ when asked if they had anything to declare.
During a subsequent search of the 34-foot vessel in question, police allegedly found a handheld GPS device and a black duffle bag inside a hatch containing the cash.
It’s not ours
The accused men denied owning the bag or the cash, the court heard.
The men were subsequently taken to the Police Marine Base where financial crime officers were summoned that same afternoon.
The money was then counted in the presence of the accused men. It amounted to $500,000.
The court heard that both accused men were then interviewed. They reportedly insisted that they had no knowledge of the bag or money.
Hearing no objections from the Crown, bail in the sum of $100,000 was offered to the duo with a cash component of $50,000.
Among their bail conditions, the accused men were ordered to surrender all their travelling documents and report to the Road Town Police Station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 6 am to 12 pm.
The matter was subsequently adjourned to January 30.
Valerie Stevens-Gordon represents Nibbs while Patrick Thompson represents Morgan.
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