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St. Thomas Man Pleads Guilty To Marijuana Distribution Charges

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U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A 57-year-old St. Thomas man pleased guilty in federal court to marijuana distribution charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Alva Nicholas pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court on St. Thomas to one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, United States Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

According to court records, on August 21, 2015, Nicholas was arrested by agents of the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) at the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas after his arrival on an American Airlines flight. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspectors screening bags arriving at the airport detected an anomaly inside a suitcase bearing Nicholas’ name and flight tag.

After further inspection, agents found 3.4 kilograms of marijuana wrapped in plastic inside Nicholas’ suitcase. The bag was repackaged and placed on the conveyor belt. Nicholas was taken into custody after he collected the suitcase from the conveyor belt. Nicholas was previously convicted of heroin smuggling and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Nicholas faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of not more than $250,000.00. His sentencing is scheduled for March 10, 2016.

The case is the result of a joint investigation by HSI and CBP. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Delia Smith.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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