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Attempt to enter United States with forged documents foiled

Freeport News Reporter

An attempt by a Jamaican national who was deported from the United States in May of 2005 to re-enter the U.S. through The Bahamas was foiled after his travel documents were found to have been forged.

Sean Bell, 32, pleaded guilty when he appeared in Magistrate's Court in Freeport yesterday before Magistrate Helen Jones charged with one count of possessing forged documents and a second count of uttering forged documents. He was represented by attorney Simeon Brown.

Reports stated that on Saturday, February 18, 2006 at about 4:00 p.m. Mr. Bell went to the Lucayan Harbour to travel to the United States aboard Discovery Cruise Line and presented his Jamaican passport to the clerk to be checked-in.

The prosecuting sergeant told the court that the name on the passport and the U.S visa was John Wayne and that Mr. Bell was already checked and cleared when Bahamas Immigration noticed that both the passport and visa pictures had been tampered with.

Mr. Bell was taken into custody and when questioned about the authenticity of the travel documents, said his name was John Wayne.

Mr. Bell, also known as Sean Williamson of Kingston, Jamaica, was deported from the United States on May 6, 2005.

In Mr. Bell's defense, his attorney argued that the entire case was a bit suspicious because the reports stated that Bahamas Immigration noticed irregularities in the travel documents.

Mr. Brown explained that he knows of no procedure where Bahamas Immigra-tion is involved when a person is travelling from The Bahamas, only when persons are entering the country.

The attorney said that if anyone noticed anything strange, it should have been U.S Immigration.

Mr. Brown also told the court about the unfortunate circumstances that landed Mr. Bell before the courts.

He explained that while Mr. Bell was in the U.S he met a lady, fell in love, got married and they had a daughter. He said that Bell's family was torn apart when he was deported back to Jamaica, leaving his wife and child in New York.

He said that Mr. Bell only went to America to pursue a better life and after he was deported leaving his family behind it drove him to work around the law.

Mr. Brown threw his client on the "mercy of the court."

Noting that Mr. Bell has no one but himself to blame for his unfortunate circumstances, Magistrate Jones said, "I understand that you went to the United States to build a better life for yourself. I also understand that instead of doing it legally you went and created ties for yourself knowing your situation. Your attorney said that you are a man of humble means, but you some- how found the money to get a ticket to come here and then to the U.S."

The magistrate told Mr. Bell that when he was deported from America, he could have taken his family to live with him but he chose to break the law.

"You would break the law in a foreign land to go back to a country that does not want you," she said. "You could spend up to five years in jail for possessing forged documents in the magistrate's court, but you didn't waste the court's time and pleaded guilty. Your counsel knows I take that into consideration."

Mr. Bell was fined $1,000 or six months on each count and will be deported on the payment of the fine or the completion of the sentence.