Human smuggler must pay or serve time in prison

POSTED: 10/27/14 5:02 PM

St. Maarten – The Common Court of Justice ordered Pierre Josias Neus to pay $17,900 or to serve 179 days in prison in case he is unable to make the payment. Neus was the captain on at least one human smuggling transport on August 14, 2010. It ended badly, because the boat carrying 65 passengers encountered engine trouble and the crew had to paddle it ashore on Norman Island near Tortola.

Several passengers identified the now 40-year-old Neus as one of the two captains on the boat that was much too small for carrying so many people. Neus was also involved in organizing human smuggling transports in July 2010. He is part of a gang that organized more transports, among them the doomed trip with the Jesus La on December 5, 2010; this boat sank near Tortola and eight people drowned.

On December 19 of last year, the Court in First Instance sentenced Neus in a seizure procedure to pay $17,900 in illegal profits from his human smuggling activities. He appealed the ruling, but the Common Court of Justice has not confirmed the verdict.

In the December-ruling three other human smugglers were sentenced to pay their estimated criminal profits to the state as well. Jean Journel Cobite, who was sentenced for the smuggling activities to 5 years and 10 months imprisonment, had to pay the most – $24,980. The court gave co-defendant Louis Saint-Marc a 25 percent discount because he is 65 and does not have any source of income. Still, Saint Marc had to come up with $20,514. The court ordered 67-year-old cab driver Erold Montgomery Bolan to pay $22,838.

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