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Former St. Thomas Heroin Smuggler With 3.4 Kilos Of Marijuana In His Luggage Gets Nine Months In Prison

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A 57-year-old St. Thomas man previously convicted of heroin smuggling was sentenced to nine months in prison after being convicted of being a pot dealer, according to federal authorities.

Alva Nicholas was given that sentence by U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez sentenced on March 17 along with five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

Judge Gomez also ordered Nicholas to pay a $100 special assessment, Sharpe said.

On November 4, 2015, Nicholas pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

According to the plea agreement filed with the court, Nicholas was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents at the Cyril E. King International Airport on St. Thomas, after his arrival on American Airlines flight 2379.



Agents were conducting a screening of bags arriving at the airport when they detected an anomaly inside a suitcase bearing Nicholas’s name and flight tag.

After further inspection, agents found 3.4 kilograms of marijuana wrapped in plastic inside his suitcase. The bag was then repackaged and placed on the conveyor belt. Nicholas was taken into custody after he collected the suitcase from the conveyor belt.

He had previously been convicted of heroin smuggling and sentenced to 10 years’ incarceration.

The case is the result of a joint investigation by HSI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

It was 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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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 50 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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