October 25, 2012 10:35 AM
PHILIPSBURG--The Prosecutor's Office has filed dispossession claims against four persons convicted of human smuggling for the total amount of approximately US $100,000.
The hearing of this case was postponed until November 22 because attorney-at-law Shaira Bommel needed more time to prepare her clients' defence.
The Prosecutor's Office wants to seize the profits made by these persons through their criminal activities, said Prosecutor Dounia Benammar.
Erold M. Bolan (65) of St. Kitts was given a bill for $28,000 for his endeavours during Wednesday's sitting of the Court of First Instance.
Jean J. Cobite (52) of Haiti and Louis Saint Marc (64) were both ordered to pay of $27,352, while Haitian Pierre J. Neus (38) may have to pay $18,000.
Cobite was sentenced to five years and 10 months in December 2011, for involvement in a December 5, 2010, operation in which some 30 persons from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Dominica and Zimbabwe were given shelter in the deserted buildings of Mullet Bay Beach Resort, after which they were put on board the Jesu La to be transported to St. Thomas or St. John.
St. Marc was sentenced to four years and 10 months. He also was convicted of perjury, for which he received 20 weeks, 14 of which were suspended, after he lied as a witness in the case of a co-suspect.
The Appeals Court sentenced Bolan to four years and 10 months on December 29, 2011. The Court found it proven he had been involved in an organisation that had set up various transports of illegal immigrants from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Guatemala to St. Maarten, and from here to the US Virgin Islands, between July and November 2010.
Several persons died during one of the transports after their rickety boat sank off Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands.
Neus was sentenced on January 31, 2012, to 36 months, nine of which were suspended, with three years' probation. The Court found him guilty of involvement in the August 2010 shipment of 65 illegal immigrants from Mullet Bay to the US Virgin Islands, as well as several attempted human-smuggling operations in July 2010.
C.M.J. (56) also stood trial on human-smuggling charges on Wednesday, in a different case. Prosecutor Tineke Kamps held him to be the captain of the Lady Gina, which allegedly was used to transport 10 illegal immigrants from Cuba and the Dominican Republic, from Antigua to St. Thomas.
The suspect said he had been paid US $500 to bring these persons to Barbuda. However, boat and passengers were held by the Coast Guard in the waters around St. Maarten on July 22.
The Prosecutor considered the charges proven and requested that Judge Tamara Tijhuis sentence the defendant to two years, with deduction of time already spent. She further demanded the confiscation of the boat and announced that C.M.J. also would be facing a dispossession claim in case of a conviction.
Attorney-at-law Geert Hatzmann pleaded for a milder sentence for his client.
Judge Tijhuis will give her decision on November 14.