Venezuelan national Rafael Josue Torres Guerrero has been fined $1,000 for entering the British Virgin Islands illegally.
The 31-year-old pleaded guilty to the offence of illegal entry when he appeared before Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin on Thursday.
He is to pay the fine in full today, Friday, February 7, or in default, he will spend two months at Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut.
What the court heard happened
The court heard that while on mobile patrol in the Trellis Bay area on February 3, members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force spotted a go-fast boat entering the harbour.
The boat was void of light and three persons were spotted onboard.
The trio later disembarked and entered two separate vehicles in the parking lot and left shortly thereafter.
The police followed the moving vehicles and intercepted them in the Lambert area.
The now-convicted man was among three persons in the vehicle, the other two were British Virgin Islanders.
All three were transported to the Road Town Police Station where their passports were checked, and it was found that the Venezuelan native had no entry stamp by an Immigration Officer in the BVI.
He was arrested on suspicion of illegal entry. It is not clear if the locals were charged with any offences.
Through an interpreter, Guerrero told the court that he was sorry for committing the offence.
“I really want to apologize for entering illegally … send me back to my country, I will not do it again,” he said.
His attorney, Leroy Jones said the electrician had no previous convictions in his home country or in this jurisdiction and urged the court to temper justice with mercy.
Jones said his client had not wasted the court’s time and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, and he accepted responsibility for his actions. He then beseeched the court to impose a fine and not a custodial sentence on his client.
In response, Magistrate Benjamin said the offence is serious. She, however, accepted his apology and his early guilty plea and, therefore, imposed the fine.