A native of the neighbouring US Virgin Islands (USVI) is on remand at Her Majesty’s Prison following reports that he landed at the Terrence B Lettsome International Airport last week with luggage containing four kilograms of cocaine.
Kadeem Jamal Hodge has been charged with importation of a controlled drug, possession of a controlled drug, and possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply to another.
The 24-year-old pleaded not guilty to all charges when he was brought before the Magistrate’s Court here on Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
According the prosecution, authorities found the drug in secret compartments of Hodge’s luggage.
Further allegations are that, on June 6, the accused flew into the British Virgin Islands with an empty laptop bag, a backpack, and other pieces of luggage.
Customs and Immigration officers at the airport conducted routine security checks of persons who were arriving.
While Hodge was being checked, the weight of his empty laptop bag triggered concern.
The court heard that the bag was searched and scanned, but nothing was found inside.
Airport workers however detained Hodge and alerted the police.
Police responded and Hodge allegedly told them that the luggage belonged to him.
Law enforcers cut into the innermost sections of the laptop bag, where they allegedly discovered six rectangular packages containing cocaine.
Hodge’s backpack was then cut open. Police reportedly discovered another 10 packages concealed inside the inner walling of the backpack.
Nothing illegal was found in his other travel bags, the court heard.
Hodge was then escorted to the Road Town Police Station where he was charged.
When he appeared before Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards, the prosecution objected to bail.
It noted that Hodge has a number of incentives to flee the jurisdiction if granted bail.
Magistrate Richards subsequently said: “There are no [bail] conditions that I can think about that will cause Mr Hodge to make his trial. As such, he will be remanded.”
Hodge is scheduled to make his next court appearance on July 14.