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American man misses cruise ship, commits immigration offense in order to stay with his Belizean love

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Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2022. 9:21 pm CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: An American national who came into Belize via cruise ship last week, stayed in Belize illegally after the ship had left, to be with a woman he had fallen in love with. He was charged with an immigration offense as he overstayed his time in Belize.

Forty-five-year-old Stuart Shoptaw, who lives in the State of California, appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court today, charged with failure to comply with the conditions of a visitor’s permit.

He immediately pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined $1,000, which he was ordered to pay forthwith. The Immigration Department also applied for a removal order against him, which was granted.

Allegations against him are that Shoptaw came into Belize via cruise ship on September 15, and did not leave along with the ship like he was supposed to. In court, he explained that he met the Belizean woman back in 2016. He said wanted to come back but his passport was stolen in the US, and the only way he could make it back to Belize was via cruise ship.

Shoptawalso said that while he was in custody he requested to speak with an attorney, but was not granted the opportunity.

He told the court that he is preparing to apply for residency and also preparing to buy property in the country.

The Immigration Department said that it received information Caribbean Shipping Agent to the effect that the ship Liberties of the Seas had left Belize and that one passenger, Stuart Ashley Shoptaw was not on board.

Authorities launched a search for Shoptaw, who was found two days later,in Hattieville Village at a local store getting his hair braided.

 

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