Guyanese man with money in suitcases now facing drug trafficking and money smuggling charges

Guyanese man with money in suitcases now facing drug trafficking and money smuggling charges

A Guyanese man, Vilton Bourne, who was in February charged in the United States with concealing $37,577 in US currency in his suitcases and failing to declare the money to U.S Customs has now been slapped with a conspiracy to import cocaine charge and a money smuggling charge.

In court documents obtained by News Source, the Grand Jury has indicted Bourne on a conspiracy to import cocaine charge.

According to the indictment, “in or about and between August, 2013 and February 2014, both dates being approximately and inclusive, within the Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendant VILTON BOURNE, together with others, did knowingly and intentionally, conspire to import a controlled substance into the United States from a place outside thereof, which offense involved a substance containing cocaine”.

The court documents which have been released do not offer more details of the alleged crime, but that information may have been passed on to the grand jury before the indictment was released.

Additionally, the Grand Jury has also indicted him on a bulk cash smuggling charge. That indictment reads “On or about February, 19, 2014, within the Eastern District of New York, the defendant VILTON BOURNE, did knowingly and with the intent to evade the currency reporting requirements under title 31, ¬†United States Code Sections 5316(a)(1)(A) and 5316(b), conceal more than $10,000 in currency, to wit, approximately $35,577.00 in United States currency, on his person and in articles of luggage and other containers, and attempt to transport and transfer such currency from a place within the United States to a place outside of the United States”.

In the indictments, the United States also gave notice to the defendant that upon “his conviction” of the offences, the government will seek forfeiture of property or belongings that may have been gained as a direct result of the proceeds from the offences contained in the indictment against him.

The indictments were filed on May, 16, 2014. Bourne had been out on bail for the initial charge. Bourne was on his way to Guyana in February when he was stopped by US Border agents at the JFK Airport and questioned about the amount of money he had in his possession. At first Bourne declared that he was traveling with US$9,000 and filled up a declaration form to that effect. However, when his suitcases and wallet were searched after being identified by him, the agents found an addition $24,577 stashed in the suitcases and in his wallet.

He was taken into custody and charged in connection with that discovery and released on a US$50,000 bond. As part of the agreement for his release, he was restricted from traveling outside of the Eastern and Southern New York districts without the permission of the court and would have to submit himself to drug tests and random visits by pretrial services.

Bourne remains out on bond even with the new charges. He has entered a not guilty plea to the charges contained in the grand jury indictment and his next court appearance will be on June 19, 2014.

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