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Haitian Who Fessed Up To Gun At Traffic Stop In St. Thomas Faces 10 Years In Prison

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A Haitian national who was living in St. Thomas with an expired visa admitted in federal court that he had a gun on him at a traffic stop.

Venel Touze, 26, of Port-au-Prince, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of being an alien in possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said today.

According to court documents, On October 31, 2018, Touze was traveling in a vehicle in downtown Charlotte Amalie when officers of the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) stopped the vehicle for a traffic infraction. Touze appeared nervous, and officers asked him to exit the vehicle.

Touze then admitted to having a firearm on his person. Police officers patted down Touze and discovered a .9mm Ruger firearm, Model P94DC.

Touze, a Haitian national, was in the United States by virtue of an expired Employment Authorization Card from 2016.

Touze faces a maximum sentence of 10 years’ incarceration, a period of supervised release of not more than three years, and a maximum fine of $250,000.

His sentencing is scheduled for June 27. U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez presided over the guilty plea.

The case was investigated by the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

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

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region since 1989. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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