CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Elijah Hakim was sentenced to serve just over seven years in federal prison for importing fentanyl-laced pills that were linked to a 2021 overdose death on St. Thomas, authorities said.
At a hearing held Friday in St. Thomas, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Robert Molloy sentenced Hakim, 36, to serve 85 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.
The sentence comes after Hakim’s October trial, where a federal jury found him guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. Just two milligrams of fentanyl, or the amount that could fit on the tip of a pencil, is considered a potentially lethal dose.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, from April 2021 to May 2021,
Hakim mail two packages containing fentanyl from Georgia to St. Thomas. The first package,
mailed on April 22, 2021, contained 150 fentanyl pills weighing approximately 17.5 grams which
were concealed in a vitamin bottle.
The package was filled with spray foam and mailed from an Atlanta, GA, post office to St. Thomas. The second package, mailed on May 18, 2021, contained 200 fentanyl pills weighing approximately 25 grams which were concealed inside a Gucci gift box.
Like the first package, the second package was filled with spray foam to further conceal the pills and mailed from an Atlanta, Georgia, post office. Each package was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas. Court documents further revealed that during this period, a victim on St. Thomas overdosed from consuming pills suspected of containing fentanyl.
At trial, the United States introduced fingerprints found on the May package which matched
Hakim’s fingerprints. Also admitted at trial was packaging material found in Hakim’s Atlanta
apartment, including a spray foam cannister, bubble wrap, vacuum sealed bags and fiber tape
consistent with the packaging used to conceal the fentanyl in the April and May packages.
At sentencing, the Judge Molloy noted that the comprehensive investigation and evidence
admitted a trial were more than sufficient for a jury to find Hakim guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
During his allocution, Hakim stated that he did not believe that he could be found guilty by just
fingerprints. Judge Molloy responded; however, that it was not just the fingerprints, but all of the
other evidence pointing to Hakim as the culprit — the fingerprints simply sealed the deal.
“Across the United States, opioids, primarily fentanyl, killed over 80,000 people in 2021
alone,” United States Attorney Delia Smith said. “Here in the Virgin Islands, we have thus far
been spared the worst of the opioid epidemic, but the two shipments of fentanyl involved in this case