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Atlanta Man Faces Five Years In Prison On Marijuana Smuggling Charges


CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A 25-year-old Georgia native had his first appearance in federal court on Monday in St. Thomas on charges that he is a marijuana smuggler, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Bert Donadelle, Jr. appeared  Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller after being charged in a complaint with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

Donadelle was released on an unsecured $10,000 bond and to the third-party custody of his mother pending further proceedings, according to Sharpe.

According to the complaint, on Sunday, April 3, 2016, at the Cyril E. King International Airport, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) K-9 detected narcotics in a checked bag belonging to Donadelle, who had arrived on a Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta.

CBP officers examined the contents of the bag, resealed it, and placed it on the carousel for retrieval. Donadelle retrieved the bag, and a second checked bag bearing his name, from the baggage claim area. CBP officers seized and field tested a total of about eight kilograms of marijuana from Donadelle’s bags.

Under federal law if convicted of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, Donadelle faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. This case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kim L. Chisholm.

According to mugshots dot com, Donadelle was allegedly charged with driving on a suspended license in in DeKalb County, Georgia in January of 2010.

Sharpe said that when a criminal complaint is filed against someone it does not it and of itself indicate that the person has committed a crime.

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


ACCUSED: Bert Donadelle

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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