The two Frenchmen, Frenchmen fined for ganja, arrive at the Serious Offences Court in Kingstown on Monday for sentencing. (iWN photo)

Two Frenchmen were, on Monday, fined EC$4,250 on marijuana and ammunition possession and immigration charges. 

Frederic Blanc, 52, of France, and Gilles Monfeugas, 56, of Martinique, appeared before the Kingstown Magistrate Court on Dec. 24 — Christmas Eve — where they pleaded guilty to charges that on Dec. 23, at Petit Bordel, they had in their possession 309 grams (10.9 ounces) of cannabis, and four rounds of 12-gauge ammunition, without a licence.

The men also pleaded guilty to three immigration charges, namely, that on Dec. 23, at Petit Bordel, they entered St. Vincent and the Grenadines other than at a port of entry; that they entered the state by boat and disembarked without the consent of an immigration officer, and that they knowingly and wilfully allowed themselves to be landed as prohibited immigrants.

Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett adjourned and transferred the matter to the Serious Offences Court for facts and sentencing.

However, that court was not sitting and the men were remanded into custody until Monday, Dec. 30, when they appeared before the Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne.

The court heard that on Dec. 23, about 8 a.m., a party of Rapid Response Unit and Coast Guard personnel aboard Cast Guard Vessel SVG 02, acting on information, went in search of a yacht in respect of controlled drug and unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

The party, which was headed by Leading Seaman Morris, met off the Petit Bordel shoreline a white, orange and black yacht, matching their information.

They met Blanc inside the yacht and the police informed him of their duties and he consented to a search.

Inside the cabin of the yacht, Police Constable 73 Khafra Jack found two brown taped packages containing plant-like material resembling that of cannabis behind the headrest of the seat.

Blanc, on being cautioned, replied, “Officer, the packages are mine.”

Monfeugas, the captain of the vessel, who was ashore came aboard and when questioned, replied, “Officer, I’m guilty for everything.”

During a more detailed search, the officers found on the top shelf of the cabin a transparent container containing four rounds of 12-gauge ammunition.

Blanc replied, “Officer, I don’t know anything about those.

Monfeugas said, “Officer, I don’t know they were there. Is what I use home for hunting.”

When questioned further, the men told police that they did not clear with immigration.

The men were arrested and charged and later handed over to immigration officials.

Sergeant 411 Julian Caine, a police ballistics expert, concluded that the ammunition were live rounds.

In mitigation, defence counsel Grant Connell told the court that his clients had cooperated with the police and had expressed remorse for their actions. 

He said that they had their passports and documents prepared but had not cleared with immigration officials immediately on arriving in SVG.

Connell said it was not Blanc’s first trip to SVG and on the other occasion he had cleared with immigration officials.

The lawyer said that on this trip, Blanc had come to see his girlfriend and some of his friends came aboard the yacht and brought the marijuana “for the enjoyment of the visitors.

“It wasn’t for sale,” the lawyer said.

He further said that Blanc lived in France where he had a licence to hunt and when he moved to Martinique, he loaded all his possessions onto the yacht, where he lives, not realising the ammunition was there.

The lawyer said that, at the arraignment, he and the prosecutor had discussed the case but after both men pleaded guilty, the prosecutor rose and asked for an adjournment to consult Interpol to see if any of the men had a criminal record elsewhere.

The lawyer said that the senior magistrate then adjourned and transferred the case to the Serious Offences Court, which was not sitting, resulting in the men spending almost a week in jail.

The chief magistrate said that a custodial sentence was inappropriate in the circumstances and ordered the men to pay EC$300 forthwith for the marijuana or spend one month in jail.

They were to pay forthwith EC$1,850 on the ammunition charge, with the fine equally divided between. The alternative was two months in jail.

On each of the immigration charges, the men were fined EC$300 and EC$400 with the higher amount payable by the captain, with an alternative sentence of one month in prions on each charge.

The men paid the fines.

4 replies on “Frenchmen fined for ganja, ammo”

  1. Rawlston Pompey says:

    AMISS – PLEA OF CONVENIENCE

    Something seems ‘…Amiss.’

    This may have been a ‘…Guilty Plea of Convenience.’

    Unless the reporter had been ‘…inadvertent’ (a rare occurrence), there appeared to have been the ‘…non-intervention of Customs and Immigration officials.’

    As far as entry of the Yacht was concerned, this would necessarily require by Customs before whom a ‘…Declaration’ shall be made of the Yacht’s cargo and/or Stores.’

    As far as the crew/passengers aboard were concerned and appeared not to have landed, (news story has not revealed otherwise), they would have ‘…required the permission of the Chief Immigration Officer through one of his subordinates at the point of entry.’

    Such power is exercisable by both the ‘…Comptroller and Chief Immigration Officer’ even though the point of entry was not so designated.

    However, this may have been contingent on the respective officer having no reasons to believe there was a ‘…deliberate attempt to avoid or evade Customs and Immigration formalities.’

    Accepting Counsel Grant Connell’s ‘…Plea In Mitigation’ that the’… travel/entry documents had been prepared,’ the matter may have been dealt with in a ‘…non-prosecutorial manner.’

    This is the ‘…Visionary Year – 2020.’

    ANR continue to ensure that ‘…it sees every occurrence; …happening or development,’ equally as clear as it has seen them in the past.

    Here is wishing ‘ANR’s Editor and Staff and all its contributors, followers, visitors and readers a ‘…most peaceful, prosperous and joyous New Year.

    It would be remiss not to recognize the contributions of ‘…Real Talk’ columnist Jomo ‘Sanga,’ Thomas and the attorneys- the Baptistes, Bruce’s and Connells’ who have, with consistency, ‘…shown no hesitancy or timidity in expressing their experiences before the Judiciary.’

    Greetings and Best Wishes to all.

    1. Rawlston Pompey says:

      APOLOGIES TO IWN AND EDITOR

      It should be ‘…IWN’ and not ‘…ANR’ as referenced.

      That, altogether, is a different ‘…Antigua and Barbuda’ entity.

      Best Wishes to the Editor and this reliable news portal.

  2. If they were from SVG or surrounding area they would of been nailed to the cross on those charges.
    Welcome to beautiful SVG the FOREIGNERS PARADISE.

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