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36-Year-Old Catherine’s Rest Man Gets Three Years Probation For Growing Weed In His Yard

Michael Velez

CHRISTIANSTED – A 36-year-old St. Croix man was sentenced to  three years probation in federal court after admitting to growing marijuana on his property, according to a U.S. Department of Justice official.

Senior U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Finch on Thursday sentenced Michael Velez of Estate Catherine’s Rest to three years of probation, six months of electronic monitoring, and a $500 fine on one count of manufacture of marijuana, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

According to the plea agreement filed with the court, Velez admitted that on January 29,2015, he was the sole resident of property located at 4-0 Catherine’s Rest, St. Croix, where U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) officers found 204 marijuana plants while executing a search warrant for the premises.

Court records indicate that law enforcement also discovered cultivation equipment, including lights, watering mechanisms, and cloning solution.

The case was investigated by the DEA and the VIPD and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian Stringer.

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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