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24-Year-Old New York Man Accused Of Smuggling 21 Kilos Of Marijuana Through St. Thomas

ronald sharpe

U.S, Attorney Ronald Sharpe

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A 24-year-old New York man was brought before a federal judge on St. Thomas on Sunday on charges that he smuggled 21 kilos of marijuana into the territory, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Deonte Bailey made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller after being charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Louis Harrigan said.

Bailey was detained pending preliminary and detention hearings set for today.

According to the criminal complaint, on January 30 at the Cyril E. King International Airport’s baggage claim area, a CBP K-9 detected narcotics in a checked bag belonging to Bailey, who had arrived on a Delta Airlines flight from New York.

Bailey was taken to secondary inspection where CBP officers discovered a baggage claim ticket for a second bag, authorities said. The CBP officers went to the Delta Airlines baggage claim area where a second bag belonging to Bailey was recovered.

CBP Field Operations Officers seized a total of 46 pounds (21.1 kilos) of marijuana from Bailey’s bags at that time.

“CBP officers remain vigilant to detect and seize illegal contraband being illegally brought into our islands,” Harrigan said.

Under federal law if convicted of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, Bailey faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nelson Jones.

Sharpe said that a criminal complaint is merely a formal charging document and is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.

“Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty,” he said.

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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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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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