Pedro Samuel Sr., 58, of Diamond Estate, and Reno Alphonso, 27, of Fort Hill have been denied bail after appearing in court today with charges stemming from this weekend’s major cocaine drug bust which is said to be valued at nearly $42 million.

Appearing before Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin, Samuel and Alphonso were both slapped with charges of possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply. 

Alphonso received an additional charge of failure to comply with orders given by the police. 


According to the allegations presented by the Crown Counsel, Samuel and Alphonso on Saturday, August 13 were both intercepted on a vessel in close proximity to Cooper Islands by the Marine Branch of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.

The information provided by the prosecution stated that the vessel was first spotted off the south of Virgin Gorda, traveling briskly towards the west.

The report further said that officers commenced pursuit of the vessel through the Ginger Island and Cooper Island channel, where emergency lights were activated and a verbal order was given to stop the vessel.

After finally bringing the vessel to a halt, the court heard that Samuel and Alphonso told officers that they had just returned from fishing out at sea and denied having anything illegal on the boat.

The police conducted a search of the vessel and one canvas bag containing what was suspected to be cocaine was found. This led to a subsequent search in which the court heard discovered another 14 canvases containing a similar substance.

Both defendants were then cautioned and arrested. 

The substance was later positively identified as cocaine, weighing approximately 400 kilograms with a street value of $41,946,000. 

Denied Bail

Following the arguments presented by the attorneys representing Samuel and Alphonso, Magistrate Benjamin said she had to consider all the variables presented in the matter.

She said that despite the men having status and roots in the BVI, the serious nature of the offenses and the likelihood of being convicted could result in both men fleeing the territory if granted bail.

To that end, she denied both men bail and they were remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison at Balsam Ghut.

Up to 10 years in prison

The Crown Counsel outlined that the charges both men face carry a maximum financial penalty of $100,000 or triple the amount of the value of the drugs, with the greater of the two the determining factor.

In addition, the charges also carry a maximum prison sentence of up to 10 years in prison or a combination of both a fine and prison sentence.

Both Samuel and Alphonso will return to court on October 12.