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Orlando Man Gets 3 Years In Prison For Smuggling 30 Pounds Of Ganja Into STT

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Florida habitual offender was given more than three years in prison by a federal judge for smuggling at least 27.8 pounds of marijuana into the territory, authorities said.

Marvin Forbes, 49, from Orlando, was sentenced to 37 months of incarceration by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Robert A. Molloy on his conviction of possession with intent to distribute marijuana after qualifying as a career offender in federal court, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

According to court documents, on June 19, 2020, Forbes arrived at the Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas on Spirit Airlines flight #1610 which departed from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Upon arrival in St. Thomas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers conducted an inspection of Spirit Airline’s checked bags. CBP K-9 “Sherpa” later alerted to the presence of narcotics in Forbes’ checked bag.

After Forbes removed his bag from the baggage claim belt, CBP officers escorted him to secondary for inspection. In secondary, CBP officers cut a lock that was placed on Forbes’ suitcase after he failed to produce the key to open the lock. Inside Forbes’ suitcase, CBP officers discovered eight (8) vacuum sealed packages, each containing multiple smaller, individually vacuum sealed packages, of marijuana with a total weight of 12.61 kilograms.

Forbes entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court on May 17, 2021.

At sentencing, Forbes qualified as a career offender pursuant to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines based on the facts that: (1) he was at least 18 years old at the time he committed the offense of conviction; (2) his conviction is a felony that is either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense; and (3) Forbes had at least two prior felony convictions
of either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense. As a career offender, Forbes’ guideline sentence was increased from 24 to 37 months of incarceration.

This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and CBP. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Delia Smith.

The case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

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.