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American Pastor and his wife charged for not declaring over US $20,000 Print E-mail
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Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00

On Monday, November 11th, American couple, a Pastor and his wife, found themselves in custody after they failed to declare over $21,000 US dollars when entering the jurisdiction.

The American nationals, Pastor Gary West, 68, and his wife, retired nurse aid Evelyn Patnaude West, 67, both pleaded guilty to failing to declare a large sum of money when they arrived at the Philip Goldson International Airport last week Friday, November 8.

According to the report, the couple arrived in Belize from the United States on Friday, and at 12:05 p.m., while at the Customs Desk, they were asked if they had anything to declare, to which they replied no.

The customs officer decided to search the luggage of Patnaude – West where he found a whopping US $21,000, which had not been declared. A search of West person, led to the discovery of US $7,000 inside his left pants pocket and US $300 inside his wallet, which had not been declared either.

The couple was represented in court by Attorney Ellis Arnold, who made a mitigation plea on their behalf.

Arnold expressed the couple’s complete remorse of entering the country without declaring the money, but the couple told the court that they honestly did not know that they had to declare the money. He also asked the court to consider that the couple did plead guilty and so they did not waste the court’s time and also that this would make them first - time offenders in our country.

After hearing the mitigation, Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser then fined Patnaude – West $5,000 to be paid forthwith and her husband, West, was fined $1,000 also to be paid forthwith, which the couple was able to do.

Persons travelling are reminded that when travelling in and out of the country, they are required to declare monies amounting to over US $5,000 or BZ $10,000, and that it is an offense not to do so.