ROAD TOWN, British Virgin Islands, Monday April 11, 2016 – Three police officers in the British Virgin Islands – one from Jamaica, one from Dominica and the other a local – have found themselves on the wrong side of the law, accused of stealing drugs and money from criminals they apprehended and using the ill-gotten gains to purchase vehicles and houses.
BVI national Simon Power, Jamaican Shawn Henry and Dominican Pamphill Prevost, who took the lead in major drug and money laundering cases, are facing 19 charges for offences allegedly committed between January 2012 and April 2014. They are: three counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, nine counts of theft, four counts of possessing or using the proceeds of criminal conduct, two counts of drug possession with intent to supply, and one count of transferring proceeds of criminal conduct.
A fourth officer, Michael Isles, who was involved in the illegal activities at a later stage and was suspended form the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) along with the other three last year, has turned state witness in the case. He is not facing any charges.
According to the prosecutor, Queen’s Counsel Christopher Sallon who was brought in from the United Kingdom, the three officers who were part of the Proactive Unit of the RVIPF, would use police intelligence to intercept criminals and then take some of the drugs and money seized.
It’s alleged that they stole more than a quarter million dollars – sums of $30,000, $128,000, $15,000, $80,000, $4,000, $20,000, and $9,000 on separate occasions – along with 158 kilos of marijuana and 20 kilos of cocaine.
Despite arguments presented by defence attorneys when the matter was first heard in court last week, 20 months after Operation Lucan began to investigate allegations of serious police corruption, Power, Henry and Prevost were remanded to prison.
Sallon had told the court that Power and Henry posed a flight risk; that the accused may interfere with witnesses if released on bail; and that there were “credible” death threats made against them and keeping them behind bars was for their own safety.
In agreeing that they should be denied bail, Magistrate Ayanna Bapiste-DaBreo said the charges were serious and there was “a strong possibility that these defendants will abscond”.
Sallon assured that the authorities would speak with the Governor to ensure that the police officers would be kept separately and safe in jail.