British Virgin Islands

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

‘We are not able to build a wall & ask Mexico to pay for it’- Magistrate

‘We are not able to build a wall & ask Mexico to pay for it’- Magistrate

"Our borders with the US are porous, and we are not able to build a wall and ask Mexico to pay for it,” stated senior Magistrate Tamia N. Richards as she remanded Olicity M. Lanns, 24, to Her Majesty’s Prison yesterday, April 13, 2021.

Mr Lanns, 24, of Hannah’s Estate, is charged with Importation of Drugs, Being Concerned in the Supply of Drugs and Possession of a Controlled Drug. He did not enter any pleas at yesterday's virtual court sitting.

The accused was the lone person arrested following a high-speed boat chase that involved the Joint Task Force and US Customs and Border Protection and US Coast Guard on Sunday, April 11, 2021.

Some 453kg of cocaine was subsequently taken from VI waters, according to police.

It was the Magistrate’s view that Mr Lanns, a US citizen with Belonger status, had more to gain by fleeing the Virgin Islands. She said with his US citizenship; Mr Lanns is eligible to live anywhere in the vast United States, "he can travel illegally into the US and travel throughout the US without detection."

Magistrate Richards explained that the court must consider whether there is a risk of the defendant absconding if he is granted bail, and there is always that risk.

The accused, Olicity M. Lanns, was the lone person arrested following a high-speed boat chase that involved the Joint Task Force and US Customs and Border Protection and US Coast Guard on Sunday, April 11, 2021.

A helicopter belonging to the US Customs and Border Patrol trail the vessel on April 11, 2021.


Drugs seized reportedly worth $43M


"So my view on the information before me, I can devise of no conditions that can secure the defendants attendance at his trial. I consider that the amount of drugs that is involved is $43 million. That's a lot of drugs, and the defendant must have if the allegations are true major underworld drug connections."

She further said the fact that there was a boat involved shows that he has access to boats and to flee the jurisdiction outside of the ferry or via aeroplanes.

"Our borders with the US are porous, and we are not able to build a wall and ask Mexico to pay for it. Having to face a long custodial term may be the impetus for him to flee, it is not as if it is unheard of that a person facing a long term has never fled the jurisdiction where they are from. There is more for him to gain by fleeing rather than staying," she added.

It was former US President Donald J. Trump who had controversially stated that, in the fight to curb illegal entry, the US would build a wall on the Mexico border and make that country pay for it.

Meanwhile, the court matter has been set for May 11, 2021, for report.

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