Dec. 22, 2005 — A federal grand jury St. Croix has indicted Trevor Everton Messiah and Henry Looby, nationals of Antigua, charging them with one count each of conspiracy to bring in illegal aliens, bringing in illegal aliens for financial gain and bringing in illegal aliens.
The Dec. 20 indictment stems from the Dec. 4, 2005 detention of approximately 13 Cuban Nationals by the V.I. Police Department.
According to a press release from U.S. Attorney Anthony Jenkins an affidavit filed in this case said the Cubans boarded a vessel known as the Happy Hour at Dominica on Nov. 28, 2005, but the boat encountered mechanical problems and stopped in Guadalupe. The Cubans resumed their voyage on Dec. 2, 2005, and reportedly arrived on St. Croix at approximately 3 a.m. on Dec. 4. The Cubans were dropped off at a beach on the southwest side of St. Croix. The boat that transported the passengers then left the Cubans at the shore and departed.
Further, the affidavit states that at approximately 3:20 p.m. agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement received information from Customs and Border Protection Officers, that they had received information that a vessel matching the description of the alleged smuggling vessel had called on CBP to arrange an inspection. The captains of the vessel, Messiah and Looby, claimed that they had arrived in distress and were requesting to be paroled into the United States. After further questioning of Messiah and Looby, the affidavit states they both said they had brought the load of undocumented Cubans to the Virgin Islands without checking or asking for documentation to determine whether they could enter the United States. Messiah and Looby also reportedly said they had been paid between one and two thousand dollars to transport aliens to St. Croix.
The Indictment alleges Messiah and Looby were operators of the vessel.
Messiah and Looby face a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 on each of the counts.
Jenkins, in the release, emphasized that the Indictment is merely a formal charging document and that all the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until guilt is established at trial.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.