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Two St. Thomas Men Charged With Being Cocaine Dealers Appear In Federal Court


CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Two St. Thomas men had their first appearance in federal court on Monday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Reinaldo Morone, 44, and Walid John, 37, each appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez on a criminal complaint charging them with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

Morone and John were released on $10,000 unsecured bonds and to third-party custodians, and were placed on electronic monitoring pending further proceedings, after a detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller, Sharpe said.

According to the complaint, on October 20, 2016, the men attempted to sell to someone four kilograms of a white powdery substance that later tested positive for cocaine.

Possession with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more 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. Drug Enforcement Administration.

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 in and of itself evidence of guilt.

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

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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