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Two Rock City Men, Acio Richards and N’kel Morton, Face Drug Trafficking Charges In Federal Court

HYATTSVILLE, MD- NOVEMBER 19 Authorities from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives search a home where a defendent lived, who sold narcotics to undercover officers and agents in Hyattsville, Maryland on November 08, 2011. This month, D.C. police and federal agents from ATF, FBI and ICE closed a year-long and risky undercover investigation which brought more than 60 prosecutions cases to federal courts and D.C. Superior court, for charges such as robbery, gun trafficking to methamphetamine distribution to conspiracy to commit bank robbery. Police targeted 77 people in the sting, seized millions in drugs and purchased or captured 151 guns, including assault rifles and 9mm pistols with brand new silencers, weapons rarely seen on city streets. (Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
(Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Two St. Thomas men had their first day in federal court to answer charges related to drug trafficking.

Acio Richards, 26, and N’kel Morton, 22, made their initial appearance at the Ron de Lugo Federal Building on November 17 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller on separate criminal complaints charging each with possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

After a detention hearing in front of Judge Miller on Friday, November 18, Morton was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending further proceedings. Richards was released to a third-party custodian on a $10,000 unsecured bond, and was placed on home detention with electronic monitoring, Sharpe said.

According to the complaints, on November 16, 2016, Richards and Morton each separately traded cocaine in exchange for a firearm with an undercover special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.

This case is being investigated by the ATF.

It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Meredith Edwards.

Sharpe said that a criminal complaint is merely a formal charging document and is not evidence in and of itself 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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