(BVI NEWS) – Local law enforcement agencies have held a traveller reportedly trying to traffic nearly half-million dollars worth of jewellery through the Terrence B Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island.
Commissioner of Customs Wade Smith said the bust happened a week ago.
He said the traveller in question was departing to St Maarten when he/she was held with items valuing in excess of $450,000.
Authorities suspect the traveller, whose identity is being withheld, had the items in their possession when they first entered the territory on July 25.
The Customs boss, however, has opted to withhold additional details about the bust.
“That matter is well under investigation,” he said.
Commissioner Smith said authorities discovered the jewellery within hours of holding an elderly visitor who was travelling with $577,830 worth of cash at the said Beef Island-based airport.
That accused man was identified as Ecuador native, Arturo Bansantes.
He pleaded not guilty to engagement in smuggling, failing to declare monies to Customs, and possession of proceeds of criminal conduct when he appeared in court this week.
Section 87 of the BVI’s Customs Management and Duty Act says persons entering or departing the territory must declare anything they carry that exceeds $10,000.
The law says failure to declare these monies or items is liable on conviction to a fine of $10,000 or three times the value of the monies not being declared.