Another resident of the British Virgin Islands has found himself on the wrong side of U.S. law enforcement after being arrested in a drug bust in Orlando, Florida earlier this month. He was arrested along with Avery Lans, a man who was pardoned by former Governor John P. de Jongh in January 2015 just before former Governor Mapp took office.
Lans and BVI resident Wayne Stout Jr., the latter a boat captain by profession, was arrested on June 1 following a surveillance operation by the Department of Homeland Security.
Investigators reportedly followed Stout as he traveled in a rented car to an Orlando storage unit where they witnessed him removing a duffel bag and a cooler. He then led authorities to the parking lot of a restaurant where he met Lans and handed over the duffel bag he had just taken from the storage unit, according to court documents.
Agents then began to trail Lans, who then reportedly appeared to notice his tail, beginning to drive in an apparent attempt to evade those following. At some point in the pursuit, Lans is said to have thrown the bag he was given by Stout out of the vehicle, and it was later discovered to contain over 10 pounds of cocaine.
A search of the storage facility where Stout had gone earlier yielded three large coolers inside, which were found to contain more the suspected cocaine — 109 bricks altogether, each estimated to weigh at least one kilogram. The bricks were similar in appearance to those in the bag Lans had tossed out of his vehicle. Each, according to authorities, is worth approximately $30,000, a figure in line with that allegedly discussed in conversations between Stout’s similarly — charged fellow Virgin Islander, former Premier Andrew Fahie.
Stout’s case, like the one prosecutors have built against Fahie, appears to demonstrate the close connections between Virgin Islanders who live in the British territory and those on American soil. Stout’s alleged partner in crime Avery Lans, age 55, might be a familiar name to those in the USVI — he served 25 years of a 40-year sentence for second-degree murder before being released in 2009 and in 2015 he was pardoned by former governor John De Jongh.
Prosecutors are expected to make arguments that bail be denied in Stout’s case. Lans has already been ordered held without bond by a federal judge.
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