Human smuggling vessel on the auction block

POSTED: 06/12/13 4:51 PM

St. Maarten – At the order of the prosecutor’s office, the fishing vessel Lady Gina will be auctioned on Saturday morning at Bobby’s Marina in Simpson Bay. The 43-foot diesel engine-powered boat belonged to Cobert Mc Elroy Jeffrey, a 56-year- old father of seven children from Antigua who was caught in July of last year in St. Maarten’s coastal waters with nine Cubans and one Dominicano on board that he intended to smuggle into St. Thomas in the American Virgin Islands.

The Court in First Instance sentenced Jeffrey in November to 15 months imprisonment and his boat was seized.

During his trial last fall, Jeffrey claimed that someone had put something in his drink and that he gotten drunk and fallen asleep at sea. When the Coast Guard approached his boat, he claimed he had no idea where he was.

The passengers told investigators that they had paid the captain $1,700 per person for the trip. Jeffrey claimed that they were lying and that he had only received $500. The court obviously did not believe him and later calculated his profits at $14,000 – a sum the prosecutor’s office is now claiming on top of the proceeds it will get from auctioning the Lady Gina.

The auction is set for 10.30 a.m. on Saturday. Potential buyers may examine the vessel thirty minutes before the auction. The boat is sold “as is where is.” Bailiff Mark John Rabess accepts cash or certified bank checks only.


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