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Serial Offender Dequan Forde Wants Less Than 8 Months For 20 Pounds of Marijuana In His Suitcase

CHRISTIANSTED — Serial offender Dequan J.J. Forde is appealing his eight-month federal prison sentence for marijuana possession to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

Forde, 22, of St. Croix was sentenced on Wednesday to less that one year in prison for marijuana possession with intent to distribute. His attorney, Kia Sears, filed the notice of appeal on Friday.

Forde was remanded into federal custody after pleading guilty under an agreement with prosecutors in June.

A federal judge ruled that he would get credit for time already served at the Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility, U.S. District Court records indicate.

Forde was arrested on January 31, 2018 after arriving at Henry Rohlsen Airport on an American Airlines flight from Miami.

A routine U.S. Customs inspection found about 20 pounds of marijuana in his suitcase.

While awaiting federal trial, the Virgin Islands Police Department arrested Forde for a home invasion and an armed robbery.

Still, Sears filed a sentencing memorandum in Golden Rock that said Forde had lived on St. Croix his entire two-decade-long life and had no prior criminal history.


Sears claimed in her memorandum that incarcerating a low-level drug offender in not effective because “the crime is simply committed by someone else.”

The federal public defender suggested that “probation and intensive probation are more effective than jail or prison, respectively, in reducing offending among first-time felons.”

“As such, a sentence of community supervision is more effective than a sentence of continued incarceration,” she wrote.

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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