Haiti – Virgin Islands : A Haitian convicted of migrant smuggling
On Friday, Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards convicted the Haitian national Luc Eloi of being part of a smuggling ring that smuggled by sea 21 migrants into the British Virgin Islands past year.
In her decision, she said she was convinced “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Eloi was working with Captain Carwill Potter, who pleaded guilty several months ago, adding that she believed that the $1,400 found on Eloi on the day of his arrest was in part or in full, the proceeds of his crime.
In rendering the verdict, Me Richards recounted the statements of Eloi who asserts in his defense to be a migrant who had chosen to stay on board with Captain Potter while all the others landed.
She added “I find it incredible that he (Eloi) was just an innocent person being smuggled […] I could not believe his account of what happened,” adding that the witnesses’ statements that Luc Eloi was an interpreter and an assistant to the Captain were credible.
Luc Eloi, who had only pleaded guilty to illegal entry into the Virgin Islands, is expected to be sentenced on 1 November 2018. Captain Potter is currently serving a 30-month prison sentence for his role in the smuggling of migrants.