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Florida Woman Admits To Bringing 24 Pounds Of Marijuana To STX

CHRISTIANSTED A Florida woman admitted to bringing 24 pounds of marijuana in her checked luggage to St. Croix.

Cynthia Ines Fernandes, 33, of St. Augustine, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Emile A. Henderson III to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith said.

Fernandes faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

According to court documents, Fernandes traveled from Charlotte, North Carolina to St. Croix on a commercial flight on November 6, 2021.

In her checked bags, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents discovered 13 individually wrapped, vacuum sealed packages with approximately 11 kilograms of marijuana.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are investigating the case. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa P. Ortiz.

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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

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