Four Americans 'held captive' in British Virgin Islands released

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Four Americans who have been "held captive" in the British Virgin Islands for two weeks were finally released Thursday. 

John Hines, Lynee Ann Hines, Nicholas Cancro and Jeanne McKinnon, were taken into custody by British Virgin Islands authorities last month after they said they accidentally sailed into their territorial waters. They have been in contact with U.S. State Department officials

"We are aware the U.S. citizens previously detained in the British Virgin Islands have been released," a State Department spokesperson told Fox News. 

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After being "held captive" then released, John Hines said they took a four-hour boat ride to St. Thomas and plan to fly home to the United States on Friday. 

"We are wiped out," he said when reached by text message Thursday. 

The Americans were apprehended on Nov. 19 as they sailed through their territorial waters, according to the BVI's Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. 

The four Americans were then placed into mandatory quarantine at a local hotel as part of COVID-19 preventative measures, BVI authorities said. 

On Tuesday, 12 days after they were apprehended, the four pleaded guilty to illegal entry and each paid a $1,000 fine. 

Hines told WHAM that their captain, Cancro, tried to pay a $20,000 fine with credit cards after they were first apprehended, but BVI authorities only would accept cash. 

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Kevin Gregory, another American sailor who had a run-in with BVI authorities last month, told The Virgin Islands Daily News that he had to pay the $20,000 fine in order to be promptly released. 

“I said, ‘I’ve got a crew that’s got to leave,’” Gregory told the newspaper. “I can’t hang out and fight this thing, I have to be able to leave and litigate later.”

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