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Two From The Territory and One From LA Plead Guilty In ‘Chow Mein’ Connection Marijuana Smuggling Ring

Robert Brown 2

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Three people — one from Los Angeles, one from St. Thomas and one from St. Croix pleaded guilty to marijuana smuggling related charges in federal court on Monday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Clarence Griffin, 44, of California, Robert Brown, 29, of St. Croix, and Jamila Felix, 29, of St. Thomas, pleaded guilty in federal court on St. Thomas, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

Griffin and Brown pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute, and Felix pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, Sharpe said.

Sentencing is scheduled for September 15, 2016.

According to the plea agreements filed with the court, between July 2012 and December 2013, Griffin and Brown shipped barrels containing at least 700 kilograms but less than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana concealed in “Chow Mein” cans from Los Angeles to St. Thomas utilizing a trucking service.

Felix later deposited the proceeds from the marijuana sales into her bank accounts in St. Thomas, and subsequently wired the proceeds electronically to Griffin and other members of the conspiracy in the mainland United States. Griffin and Brown face a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $10,000,000 fine.

Both defendants remain in custody pending sentencing. Felix faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a fine of $500,000.00, or twice the value of the property involved in her transactions, whichever is greater. Felix remains on release pending sentencing.

The case is the result of a joint investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Delia L. Smith.

Robert Brown

Robert Brown of St. Croix in his profile picture for Facebook.

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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