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Joint Federal-VIPD Crime Fighting Operation Leads To Arrest, Guns and Drugs Seizure On St. Thomas

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Virgin Islands Police Department’s Special Operations Bureau, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Marshals Service executed a crime fighting initiative in the vicinity of building 21 & 22 at the Tutu High Rise Housing community on St. Thomas about 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

This initiative led to the arrest of Nesta Thomas, 37, the seizure of a model Glock 23, .40 caliber handgun with two extended magazines with ammunition and 20 cultivated marijuana pots, according to the VIPD.

The Virgin Islands Housing Authority requested assistance from VIPD about trespassing and suspicious activities that were plaguing the community that was vacated, shuttered and scheduled for demolition. St. Thomas/St. John Acting Deputy Police Chief David Cannonier was alerted of the concerns about illegal activity in the area and initiated the joint operations response. As officers arrived on the scene, they encountered Thomas trespassing on the property.

Further investigation led officers to discover that Thomas had occupied an apartment on the property where they seized a weapon, extended magazines with ammunition and the pots of marijuana. In addition, Thomas had an adult dog and two pups on the property. Deputy Police Commissioner Dr. Celvin Walwyn expressed the department’s commitment to ridding the community of the criminal element. “VIPD will be more visible in conducting more of these spontaneous operations across the territory,” Walwyn said.

Special Operations, Detective Richard Valazquez, expressed his optimism about the joint operation. “I want to sincerely thank our federal partners,” Valazquez said. “When we work together, we can effectively address and combat criminal activity throughout the territory.

Thomas was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm within one thousand feet of a school, possession of a firearm within one thousand feet of a housing community and possession of ammunition.

The VIPD is asking the community to report any and all suspicious activities to 911 or call Crime Stoppers at 1(800) 222 TIPS (8477). When you call Crime Stoppers your identity remains anonymous … and you can be paid for information that leads to an arrest.

Charged: Disturbance of the peace

Police arrested Demare A. Encarnacion, 27, of Estate Tutu at 8:10 a.m. on Aug. 7 and charged him with disturbance of the peace and reckless endangerment. Bond was set at $200.

Charged: Simple possession

Police arrested Kelsii C. Edwards, 26, of Contant at 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 8 and charged her with simple possession. Bond was set at $1,000.

Charged: 3rd-degree assault

Police arrested Donte C. Joseph, 23, of Anna’s Retreat at 11:50 p.m. on Aug. 8 and charged him with third-degree assault. Bond was set at $25,000.

Charged: 1st-degree burglary

Police arrested Elieser Edwards, 19, of Paul M. Pearson Gardens at 8:10 a.m. on Aug. 10 and charged him with first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery, grand larceny from the person, use of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence and first-degree assault. Bond was set at $150,000.

Charged: Simple assault, domestic violence

Police arrested Demare A. Encarnacion, 27, of Anna’s Retreat at 1:55 a.m. on Aug. 14 and charged him with simple assault, domestic violence. No bond was set, per the territory’s domestic violence statute.

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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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