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BVI Native Faces 10 Years In Prison For Allegedly Smuggling 11 Pounds of Cocaine

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A federal grand jury decided that a British Virgin Islands native must stand trial for allegedly bringing 11 pounds of cocaine by ferry boat to the territory.

A federal Grand Jury today returned an indictment against Shane C. Freeman, 32, of Road Town, Tortola charging him with importing cocaine into the United States with intent to distribute, U.S. Attorney Gretchen Shappert said.

The indictment against Freeman alleges that on October 9, 2018, he entered the United States from Tortola by ferry boat with approximately five kilos of cocaine.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discovered the cocaine while doing a routine inspection of the vessel.

Under federal law, Freeman faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000,000 fine.

Shappert said that an indictment 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,” she said.

The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Everard Potter.

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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