Authorities in the British Virgin Islands executed arrest warrants on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice and took two men into custody, one of which has had ties to Virgin Islands horse racing.
Earl “Bob” Hodge and former Customs officer Robert “Tico” Harrigan were remanded to custody following an appearance in BVI Magistrate Court on Wednesday afternoon. Another court appearance is scheduled for Friday.
Unnamed sources were quoted in BVI News Online as saying that both Hodge and Harrigan appeared before a magistrate from outside of the British territory. A statement from the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force said the two men were arrested in relation to warrants issued by the U.S. Justice Department.
Hodge and Harrigan were among four men initially sought by U.S. law enforcement on drug trafficking charges. The other men included Carlston Beazer and Chad Skelton. All four were released from custody in 2015 after being detained for more than three years during legal wrangling stemming from a federal government request that they be extradited to the United States to face drug-related charges. The four men had initially faced local charges in the BVI, charges which were later dropped by the prosecution who instead pursued an unsuccessful extradition.
At one time, Hodge was a prominent fixture in the U.S. Virgin Islands horse racing scene. The most notable of the racehorses he owned was Acspectation, which reigned as champion over numerous races on St. Thomas, St. Croix and in the BVI.
In September 2016, Hodge’s wife, Violet “Letty” Hodge, a former BVI Horseowner’s Association President, was sentenced to a six-year prison term after being convicted in the BVI on charges of conspiracy to import cocaine. Bob Hodge is also reported to have a financial interest in one of the fast-ferry companies whose vessels ply the waters between the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.