British Virgin Islands

Monday, Sep 20, 2021

$45M in cocaine! Accused Hannah’s Estate dealer denied bail

$45M in cocaine! Accused Hannah’s Estate dealer denied bail

Olicity McMillan Lans — a Hannah’s Estate resident arrested Sunday in connection to the seizure of more than $45 million worth of a substance believed to be cocaine — has been denied bail.

Lans, a dual citizen of the United States and the BVI, is charged with the importation of drugs, being concerned with the supply of drugs, and possession of 453.78 kilos of cocaine.

He has not yet answered to the charges but his attorney Leroy Jones said Lans plans to contest the charges vigorously.

Meanwhile, Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards denied the 24-year-old’s bail application during his first court appearance for the matter on Tuesday.

In applying for bail, Lans’ attorney noted that his client is the operator of a trucking business that he uses to financially support his newborn and his grandparents.

Jones also listed several similar court cases in which the accused persons were granted bail.

Crown opposes


But in opposing the application, Senior Crown Counsel in the DDP’s Office, Patrice Hickson said the litany of cases outlined by the defence attorney is precisely why Lans ought not to be granted bail.

She argued that these cases prove that drug-related crimes are prevalent in the BVI.

The prosecutor also said Lans is a major flight risk considering he has citizenship in the US and has access to ‘friends’ with boats capable of leaving the territory undetected.

She further said Lans is likely to interfere with the investigation or to “re-offend” considering there are other suspects still at large in the matter.

The court agrees


Magistrate Richards agreed, stating that no amount of bail conditions could keep him from absconding.

And while noting that the BVI’s borders are extremely porous, Magistrate Richards said: “I did not consider the taking of his travel documents would have sufficiently mitigated against any risk of him fleeing.”

He was therefore ordered remanded and is scheduled to reappear before the court on May 11.

Allegations


Meanwhile, allegations are that at some time after midday on April 11, Lans and others were seen on a go-fast 38-foot vessel carrying “several bails of suspected cocaine”.

The vessel was said to be travelling south-east of St Croix in the neighbouring US Virgin Islands (USVI); towards the western end of Tortola.

After identifying what was transpiring, a joint operation commenced between BVI and USVI authorities who provided air support in the form of a helicopter.

The chase


It is alleged that a chase ensued between the aircraft and the vessel. And during the chase, multiple bails of the suspected cocaine were thrown overboard by the boat’s occupants.

The vessel later ran aground in the Fort Recovery area of Tortola. The occupants, including the captain, abandoned the vessel and made off in a pick-up truck, the court heard.

However, it is alleged that the truck crashed in Carrot Bay and Lans was seen running from the area of the vehicle into a wooded area where he was apprehended and arrested. The others escaped.

The drugs were recovered and are said to have a street value of US$45,378,000.

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