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Accused St. Thomas Coke Dealer Rhasheel Charles Appears In Federal Court


ACCUSED COKE DEALER: Rhasheel Charles (right)

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A 30-year-old St. Thomas man is facing federal charges that he tried to distribute 7.83 pounds of cocaine, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Rhasheel Charles made his initial appearance in District Court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller on Monday after being charged in a criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

Charles was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending preliminary and detention hearings today at 1:30 p.m.

According to the complaint, on October 23, 2016, Charles attempted to carry 3.55 kilograms of cocaine on board an American Airlines flight destined for Miami, Florida, when a Customs and Border Protection canine alerted on the bag Charles was carrying.

Possession with the intent to distribute that quantity of cocaine carries a sentence of not less than five years in prison and up to a maximum of 40 years.

The case is being investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte.

Sharpe said that a complaint is merely a formal charging document and is not 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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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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