(BVI NEWS) – Two visitors who were allegedly caught travelling on Tortola with $52,000 cash — which is said to be amassed through gambling — has been brought before the Magistrate’s Court.
Charged with possession of proceeds of criminal conduct are 33-year-old Dominica native Cornelius Fontaine and 35-year-old Vincentian Deverson Williams.
Fontaine, a fisherman who resides in Antigua, pleaded guilty when he appeared before Magistrate Ayana DaBreo on Monday. However, his co-accused Williams did not enter a plea.
It is alleged that members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force Armed Response Unit were on mobile patrol on in February of 2019, when they received information which led them to intercept a red Suzuki Grand Vitara. Both accused were said to be travelling in the vehicle.
A search of the vehicle uncovered a red computer bag containing the aforementioned cash which was reportedly stashed behind the driver’s seat.
When questioned, the duo reportedly denied knowledge of the cash. Fontaine, however, said the bag which contained the money belonged to him.
They were arrested and charged.
During a subsequent police interview, Fontaine reportedly admitted to police that the cash belonged to him. However, he refused to disclose the source of the money or why it was in his possession.
When interviewed, Williams said the cash did not belong to him, and he had no prior knowledge of the monies. In court, Fontaine’s attorney Stephen Daniels told the court that the funds were proceeds of his client’s gambling at the race track.
Fontaine was denied bail pending his sentencing.
His co-accused Williams, in the meantime, was awarded $80,000 bail. Magistrate Baptiste Dabreo ordered that $10,000 that amount be paid in cash while the remaining $70,000 was to be signed with two sureties.
As part of his bail conditions, he is to report to the Road Town Police Station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 6 am and 6pm. He was also ordered to submit his travel documents to local authorities.
The matter was adjourned to April 11.