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Man Who Grew Marijuana And Stole WAPA Current Gets 1 Day In Prison From Visiting Federal Judge: USAO

CHRISTIANSTED — It’s all about the Benjamins …

A St. Croix man who grew weed and stole WAPA current … got one day in prison from a visiting federal judge.

Jaheem Benjamin, 33, of St. Croix, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Golden Rock on one federal count of manufacture of marijuana, and one local count of illegal use of utility equipment, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

Visiting Judge Timothy Savage sentenced Benjamin to a prison term of one day, followed by two years of supervised release, and a special assessment of $100.

According to court documents, on February 14, 2017, Benjamin was apprehended for growing 137 marijuana plants in his garage.

Benjamin was growing these marijuana plants for the purpose of harvesting them, in order to sell the marijuana.

At the time of his arrest, Benjamin admitted that he sold a pound of marijuana for about $2,500 in order to make a living.

In order to grow his marijuana plants, Benjamin used electrical equipment set up inside his garage.

Benjamin ran the electrical equipment using electricity passing through a meter belonging to the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (“WAPA”) that had been tampered with and altered.

In doing so, he was able to facilitate his marijuana grow operation, with the purpose of avoiding payment to WAPA for the electricity to run the marijuana grow operation.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Task Force Officers with the Virgin Islands Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel H. Huston.

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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