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Couple Plead Guilty To False Declaration

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

A MAN and his fiance; pleaded guilty in Magistrate’s Court yesterday to making a false declaration to a US Customs officer.

They failed to declare that they were carrying cash in excess of $10,000 into the USA.
After pleading guilty before Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethell, 29-year-old Jose Martinez, of Melbourne, Florida, and 27-year-old Anyelen Pascual, of Miami, Florida, were discharged with a warning.

They were told to make proper declarations in the future. The magistrate confiscated $16,263 from the defendants.

The American residents appeared before the magistrate facing two charges: making a false declaration to a US Customs Officer and failure to declare. The offences were committed on January 23.

The couple, who are expecting a child and are soon to be married, pleaded guilty to both charges.

It was alleged that around 5.45pm at the Lynden Pindling International Airport, they presented themselves to a US Customs and Border Protection officer.

Both filled out separate declaration forms and on that form, ticked ‘No’ to question 13 which asked if they were carrying cash into the USA in excess of $10,000.

Ms Pascual had already entered the jet bridge when the customs officer asked Martinez if he and the fianc� were travelling together. Martinez said they were.

The officer looked at the forms of both persons and saw that each of them listed that they were carrying close to $10,000.

Martinez’s form showed that he was carrying more than $8,000 and Pascual’s form showed a little over $7,000.

The officer told Martinez that the money would have to be confiscated because they hadn’t properly declared.

The police was called and they were taken into custody.

Martinez told police he got some of the money as a loan from family members, Panamanians, who were vacationing in the Bahamas.
He said he came to the Bahamas with $2,000 and had won $2,000 from the Atlantis casino.

Pascual told police that she had her own money, won $1,500 in the casino, and was also carrying some money from her fianc�’s family as a gift for her baby.

In court yesterday, their attorney, Michael Saunders, asked the court to take into consideration that they have no pending matters or convictions in this jurisdiction and that they did not waste the court’s time, pleading guilty right away.

The magistrate acknowledged the attorney’s points and warned them not to do it again.

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