BVI Woman with Ties to U.S.V.I. Horse Racing Industry Sentenced

A British Virgin Islands businesswoman who is well-known in U.S. Virgin Islands horse racing circles was fined $100,000 and sentenced to a six-year jail term in connection with a drug-related conviction.

The sentence against Violet "Letty" Hodge was handed down Monday by Magistrate Ayanna DaBreo, according to reports published in the BVI news media.

While the prison term takes effect Monday, Hodge has two months to pay the fine or face an additional six month jail term.

According to repiorts, Hodge was convicted of conspiracy to import cocaine but acquitted on charges of illegal firearm and ammunition possession and money laundering during a trial which ended in early June 2015.

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Letty Hodge and her husband, Earl "Bob" Hodge, are well known in the U.S. Virgin Islands horse racing industry. The most notable of the race horses they have owned is Acspectation, which reigned as champion over numerous races on St. Thomas, St. Croix and in the BVI. The horse, which dominated horse racing over a decade ago, died in 2015. The Hodges are also reported to have a financial interest in one of several fast-ferry companies providing transportation services between the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

More than 30 government witnesses were called during her trial, including federal government law enforcement agents, BVI police officers and convicted drug dealers who are now imprisoned on the U.S. mainland. While Letty Hodge testified on her own behalf in denying the allegations, key witnesses said at trial that she had taken part in discussions centered around drug deals they allegedly had with her husband.

In August, Hodge accepted the role of Parade Marshal for the BVI August Monday Parade, but later opted out of the honor citing personal reasons. 

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