Vi woman gets $40K bail
A 42-year-old Florida man was remanded to prison on Tuesday for gun, ammunition and drug allegations while a 24-year-old Virgin Islands woman arrested along with him received a $40,000 bail offer.
Rashon Lewis, of Jacksonville, Florida, and Rhondella Guishard, of Horsepath, appeared virtually before Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards on Tuesday and were jointly charged with unlawful possession of a Smith & Wesson pistol and 24 rounds of ammunition.
Mr. Lewis was also charged with possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply, unlawful possession of cannabis, and landing in the territory without leave of an immigration officer.
Crown Counsel Jamal Bridgewater read the allegations.
Around 9 p.m. on Aug. 30, he said, police officers of the Armed Response Unit were in the vicinity of the Blackburne Highway near the Hodges Creek Marina when they observed a black Kia parked with its rear lights on.
Officers who approached the vehicle found Mr. Lewis in the driver’s seat and Ms. Guishard in the passenger seat, the prosecutor said.
After speaking with the pair, the officers said they suspected cannabis was in the vehicle and informed the duo that they would be conducting a search, according to Mr. Bridgewater.
Mr. Lewis was asked if he had anything illegal, and he told the police that he had “a little bit of weed,” the prosecutor said. Mr. Lewis then handed over a transparent plastic bag that contained suspected cannabis, according to Mr. Bridgewater.
Alleged escape attempt
After Mr. Lewis was informed that he was under arrest, he allegedly attempted to put his vehicle in gear in a bid to evade the officers, who nevertheless managed to stop him, the Crown counsel said. The officers, he added, subsequently searched the vehicle and found a firearm and two magazines in its glove compartment.
Mr. Lewis and Ms. Guishard both denied knowledge of the gun and ammunition, and they were taken to the Road Town Police Station, Mr. Bridgewater said. There, the marijuana was weighed at 18.17 grams, according to the prosecutor, who said its street value was $181.70.
The next day, police took Mr. Lewis to his room at Harbour View, where they found 220 grams of cannabis in his suitcase, as well as several pills of MDMA, which is also known as ecstasy, according to Mr. Bridgwater. Mr. Lewis, he said, denied knowledge of the drugs.
When Ms. Guishard was interviewed, she stated that she knew the co-defendant used cannabis, but she denied knowledge of the firearm and ammunition, according to the prosecutor.
During the hearing on Tuesday, Ms. Guishard — who was not charged in connection with any of the drugs — pleaded not guilty to the firearm and ammunition charges against her.
Her attorney, Valerie Stephens Gordon, told the court that Ms. Guishard had gone for a drink with Mr. Lewis on the evening in question, and he had been dropping her off at Hodges Creek where her vehicle was parked.
The attorney said Ms. Guishard was about to leave the area when the police arrived at the scene. Police, she added, also searched Ms. Guishard’s vehicle.
Ms. Stephens-Gordon noted that the vehicle in which her client was found was a rental that was not under her client’s control.
The attorney also told the court that Ms. Guishard is a mother of one who works as a compliance officer, and that she has no previous convictions.
The prosecution did not object to bail for Ms. Guishard, who was on police bail before the hearing.
Ms. Richards set bail at $40,000 with a signed surety, and she ordered Ms. Guishard to turn over her travel documents and to report to the Road Town Police Station every Monday and Friday between the hours of 6 a.m. and noon.
Mr. Lewis’ attorney, Stephen Daniels, did not make a bail application, and his client was remanded to prison. The case was adjourned until Oct. 13 for report.
Ms. Richards also requested an update on the status of the police investigations, and Mr Bridgewater said investigations are ongoing and additional charges are likely to be laid in the case.
Mr. Solomon reported this story from Guyana.