International — 04 March 2014 — by Rowland A. Parks
Carnival Glory passenger couldn’t get enough of the Jewel

He ended up with immigration fine

Brian Rusk, 42, an auto mechanic from Indiana, U.S.A. arrived in the Belize harbour on board the cruise ship Carnival Glory, but when the ship sailed last Thursday, February 20, Rusk remained behind, because he wanted to see more of Belize, he said. But in doing so, he violated Belize’s immigration laws.

Rusk pleaded guilty to one count of illegally disembarking a vessel without the consent of an immigration officer yesterday, when he was arraigned on the charge before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton, who fined him $1,000, which he was ordered to pay forthwith, or face imprisonment for six months.

Rusk paid the fine and was taken into immigration custody until he can be put on board a ship to make his way back to the U.S., since he has no legal status to remain in Belize after spending five days without the requisite visitor’s visa.

Rusk, who was unrepresented in court, told Magistrate Hamilton, “I had car problems. The vehicle had a flat tire so I was late going back to the ship and I wanted to see around the country, but six hours was not enough. I apologize to the court.”

Rusk was first caught by a tourism police officer outside the Tourism Village after he allegedly tried unsuccessfully to get back on a ship yesterday, Wednesday, February 26. But that was not his ship and he was detained and taken into custody.

The Immigration Department was called in and they began to investigate the reasons Rusk was still in Belize for five days illegally.

The authorities then found out through information obtained from the US Embassy that Rusk had a long rap sheet for offenses such as abuse, theft and drugs, but he is not wanted in the US at this time.

When asked in court where he had been living for the five days, Rusk could not say what was the name of the street on which he had been residing, but authorities confirmed that he was renting an apartment on Lizarraga Avenue, in the Kings Park area of Belize City.

Interestingly, immigration authorities discovered that Rusk had already made a down-payment for two months stay at the apartment complex on Lizarraga Avenue.

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