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Crime

Murder, Human Trafficking, Interceptions, Gun Arrests & Theft Charges from TCI Police  

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Man Murdered in Grand Turk; Homicide count to SEVEN for TCI

 May 9th, At around 5:10am this morning, Monday 9th May 2022, a body of a man was found in Back Salina, Grand Turk. Given what is known so far, a murder investigation has been launched by RTCIPF Serious Crime Detectives.

ILLEGAL MIGRANTS MAKE MOTHER’S DAY LANDING in PROVO

 May 8, At about 12:30 am on Sunday 8th May 2022 it was established that a sloop had landed at North west Point when a boat was found on the shore. It is believed, at this stage, that whilst the vessel was detected by the Coastal Rader Station, the vessel was too close to the coast to be intercepted by the RTCIPF Marine Branch, despite the Police Boat being in the area at the time.

A number of what are believed to be illegal migrants were seen on land in the North West point area. The Police and Immigration Enforcement were deployed to the area and the operation continues to locate and detain any persons from the landed vessel.

Police INTERCEPT second Sloop on Mother’s Day near Provo, THREE Children aboard

May 8, At around 8:30pm on Sunday 8th May 2022, the Coastal Radar Station alerted the Police Control.

Room that they were tracking a target seven miles off the coast of Providenciales.

The RTCIPF Marine Branch subsequently intercepted a boat carrying suspect illegal migrants at just after 9pm. The vessel and persons were detained and brought into South Dock. Forty-nine (49) persons, including three (3) children were handed over the Immigration Enforcement Team and taken to the Immigration Detention Centre

THIEF CAUGHT WITH STOLEN GOODS

May 9th, On Monday 9th May 2022, 31-year-old Wolbert Fergusson of Kew Town Providenciales, was formally charged with the offence of Burglary.

The offence was committed at an office located on the Leeward Highway.

The crime was solved shortly after it was committed, due to the vigilance and initiative of two off-duty Police Detectives who saw the suspect walking on the roadway, carrying a backpack in the early hours of Saturday 7th May, 2022.

The officers apprehended the man and conducted a stop and search on his person and the backpack. During the search, the officers discovered what appeared to be stolen goods.

Checks were made at buildings in the area for signs of a burglary, and a shattered glass window was discovered at an office building nearby.

Further inquiries were carried out which confirmed that the recovered items, were property that had been left secured in the office.

The off-duty Police officers are commended for their vigilance, which resulted in the arrest of the offender and the recovery of the stolen property.

The defendant appeared in court on Wednesday 11th May 2022.

PROVO MAN AGREES TO SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR GUN & AMMO

May 9th, Leonardo Forbes of Blue Hills Providenciales was on Monday 9th May 2022, sentenced to seven (7) years in prison after he pleaded guilty to three counts of Keeping Firearms and Keeping Ammunition.

The charges stemmed from an incident that occurred on November 1st, 2021, when police received a report of a male being shot to the face in Blue Hills, Providenciales. Police responded to the location and commenced investigations that included the execution of a firearms warrant on the home of Forbes by RTCIPF Officers. Three (3) illegal handguns and 104 rounds of assorted ammunition were recovered.

Forbes was subsequently formally charged for Keeping Firearms and Keeping Ammunition, as well as, Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm on another male. The latter charge was withdrawn as the victim requested no action against the accused. The matter has now concluded after a successful prosecution that secured a conviction.

Management of the Criminal Investigations Department expresses gratitude and commends the teams of officers from the various units for excellent teamwork and initiative; which resulted in Leonardo Forbes being successfully prosecuted and convicted but more importantly, the removal of three illegal firearms and over one hundred rounds of ammunition from the community.

US Coast Guard foils illegal entry of over 200 Illegal Migrants from Haiti

May 9, At around 9:15am Monday 9th May 2022, a sloop, believed to be heading to the Turks and Caicos Islands was identified by our close law enforcement partners, the US Coastguard around 21 miles south of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The RTCIPF Marine Branch was deployed and the Immigration Enforcement were informed. However, the vessel was intercepted by a US Coastguard Cutter and the persons on board will be repatriated back to Haiti. The total number of persons on board was 212.

Commissioner of Police, Trevor Botting said, “I am grateful to our close collaborative partners from the US Coastguard who intercepted this large vessel which was believed to be headed to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Through working together with the USCG and colleagues from the Bahamas Defence Force, we are deploying a strong collaborative defence of the borders and territorial waters of the TCI, Bahamas and the US.”

Interception thanks to Coastal Radar, 129 Haitians stopped

MAY 12th, at about 12:09am on Thursday 12th May 2022 the Coastal Radar Station detected a suspicious vessel around 6.7miles south of Providenciales and started to track it. Immediately, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force Marine Branch made their way to the location and safely intercepted a vessel carrying irregular migrants. Following the stabilization of the boat, that was unsafe, taking on water and ensuring that the migrants were safe, the RTCIPF marine unit towed the boat to South Dock where its 129 passengers, 100 males and 29 females were safely unloaded.

They were then taken into custody by the Immigration Department.

Whilst managing this situation the Marine Branch were also dispatched to a second suspicious vessel, however as they intercepted it they found it to be local fishermen returning home.

Superintendent Martyn Ball said, “Once again we have safely intercepted another vessel that was overcrowded, unsafe and risking the lives of those on board. Again this demonstrates the professionalism and dedication of the Coastal Radar Station Team, the RTCIPF Marine Unit and our Immigration colleagues, working together to  save lives and keep our  borders here in the Turks and Caicos safe. I Would appeal to anyone if you have any information relating to such activity that you call Crime Stoppers free and anonymously on 1-800-8477, not only will you be saving lives but also supporting our national security.”

Crime

Three Arrested, Drugs Seized in North Caicos

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#TurksandCaicosIslands – February 20, 2024Serious Crime Unit detectives of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force have arrested  three men and seized a quantity of marijuana and cocaine during anti-crime operations in North  Caicos. 

Senior Officers and Magistrates issued Authorities and Warrants to Search four premises from  noon on February 14th to 3 pm today (February 16th). 

Three males, two of whom are aged 21 and an 18-year-old, were arrested for murder.  Investigations remain ongoing. 

Head of the Serious Crime and Public Protection Unit Superintendent Dean Holden said: “Our  team’s dedication and intelligence-led policing continue to play a significant role in disrupting  criminal activities.  

“Our operations will remain ongoing throughout the TCI as we continue to pursue leads and  ensure those responsible for causing fear are held accountable within the confines of the law. Our  communities deserve to feel safe, and we won’t rest until that goal is achieved.  

“I wish to also thank members of the public for their continued support and information ”. 

Additionally, Tactical Officers conducted a series of operations in Grand Turk. Several field searches were conducted in Over Back, and several items relating to ongoing  investigations were found, including a firearm. 

The public is asked to contact 911, the closest police station, the RTCIPF Serious Crime Unit at  231-1842, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477 and anonymously give any information on  illegal activity.

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Crime

Elderly Tourism Man found with ammunition committed to Trial

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Wilkie Arthur

Freelance Court Correspondent

#TurksandCaicosIslands, February 15, 2024 – An elderly defendant from the United States of America appeared before her Ladyship the Hon Chief Justice(CJ) Mrs Mable Agyemang via video link from his homeland for sufficiency hearing on Friday 9th February 2024.

His attorneys King’s Counsel, Mr Oliver Smith and assisted by attorney Mrs Kimone Tennant did not challenge the sufficiency hearing and conceded that there is sufficient evidence on the papers or in the bundle to commit the accused to trial in the Supreme Court. 

MICHAEL-LEE EVANS was allegedly found with seven rounds of ammunition in his luggage upon departure at the Providenciales International Airport just before Christmas last year, on the 12th December, 2023.

He was remanded by the Magistrate’s Court on December until his sufficiency hearing in February of this year, but his attorney KC Smith filed an emergency swift bail application just before the Supreme Court was adjourned Sine Die (without date) for the holidays. 

The office of the DPP, in the person of Mrs Nayasha Hatmin opposed bail for the supposedly very ill senior citizen, but the learned Hon lady Justice Ms Tanya Lobban Jackson granted cash and signed bail to the accused and permitted him to leave the country and return for the plea and directions hearing which is now listed for him on March 22nd, 2024.

Hon. CJ, upon request by Mr. Smith, KC, reluctantly granted a far date for the old man’s plea and directions hearing (PDH). 

His PDH was to be on the February 22, along with all the other six individuals committed to stand trial at the sufficiency hearing on Friday February 9th 2024. 

However, Mr. Smith KC presented meticulous reasoning for his client, even if at the risk of briefly frustrating of the Chief Justice.  Smith requested a much later date for the next court hearing, explaining that he needed time for a decision, he was awaiting from the Court of Appeal  on a point of law regarding the issue of “Sentencing Disparity and Exceptions Circumstances” that has created a serious public outcry here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

KC Smith said the matter involves the Attorneys General reference proceedings before the Court of Appeal and waiting the court’s findings, rulings and/or directions.

The CJ told Mr Smith that she’s not minded to push the court date any further because the matter involving the Attorney General has only to deal with sentence and nothing to do with his client going to trial. 

The CJ, in a very strong tone of voice said, “Mr. Smith KC, I don’t normally get annoyed with you but I am annoyed now, I don’t see what the Attorney General reference matter has to do with your client’s case now or being put to the next PDH.”

KC Smith still attempted to try get the CJ to see it his way and he added that he’s also not going to be in the jurisdiction at the next PDH on 22nd February. The CJ then reminded him that he’s here today before the court with his assistant Mrs Kimone Tennant allow her to do it, but he said he have conduct of the matter and would prefer doing the matter himself.

The CJ warned him that “you have used up all your Christmas presents indulgence for the year already” as she reluctantly granted him an extra month’s extension for the PDH regarding the American Tourist Michael-Lee Evans. The Plea and Directions Hearing (PDH) is set for March 22nd. 

Ms. Tassja Mitchell was for the Crown and took no position throughout but when asked by the CJ her position, she replied, “I’m guided by the Court my lady.”

The accused man’s bail was extended to his next Court date of which he will have to travel back to the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) as ordered by her Ladyship the Hon Ms.Tanya Lobban-Jackson when she granted him bail in December last year.

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Crime

LORENZO GERBEX CHARGED by Royal TCI Police

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Officers of the Serious Crime Unit of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force have charged a man with drug and firearm-related offences. 

LORENZO GERBEX, 28, of Providenciales, was charged yesterday (February 11). Mr. Gerbex is charged with the following offences: 

  1. Conspiring to supply firearms and 
  2. Conspiring to supply cannabis. 

The accused was remanded in custody pending the next available court date. 

Head of Crime and Public Protection, Superintendent Dean Holden, said, “Following an intensive six-month investigation into the supply of firearms, ammunition and controlled drugs in the Turks and Caicos Islands, officers arrested Mr Gerbex. The charges were laid after police officers consulted with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. 

This is part of the continued efforts by the RTCIPF to target Serious and Organised Crime on the islands and reduce the associated violence. 

I again appeal to the public to give us information on illegal activities by calling 911, the Serious Crime Unit at 231-1842 or the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-8477 (TIPS).”

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