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Coast Guard Returns 24 Dominicans After Illegal Voyage Northwest of Aguadilla

SAN JUAN — The Coast Guard Cutter Donald  Horsley repatriated 24 Dominican Republic nationals Monday, following the interdiction of an illegal voyage Wednesday in Atlantic Ocean waters northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

This interdiction is the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.

“The Coast Guard’s highest priority is to save lives at sea, and we do this daily alongside our fellow Caribbean Border Interagency Group partners in our shared unwavering resolve to interdict illegal voyages in the Mona Passage,” said Capt. Gregory H. Magee, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander.  “These voyages are extremely unsafe and put thousands of lives at risk every year, while conditions aboard these grossly overloaded makeshift boats are just inhumane.  If you are thinking of taking part in an illegal voyage, do not take to the sea!  If caught, you will be returned to your country of origin or you could find yourself facing criminal prosecution in U.S. courts.”

The aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations Enforcement Aircraft detected the suspect illegal voyage Wednesday night, approximately 70 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Following the sighting, the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos interdicted the 30-foot makeshift boat and safely embarked all the passengers. The Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsely later embarked and completed the group’s repatriation to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel near the coast of Juanillo Dominican Republic.

Since Oct. 1, 2021 to May 16, 2022, the Coast Guard has carried out 61 illegal voyage interdictions in Mona Passage and Caribbean waters near Puerto Rico.   Interdicted during this period, are 1,585 non-U.S. citizens comprised mostly of Dominican Republic and Haitian nationals (1,184 Dominicans, 348 Haitians, 01 Cuban, 1 Ecuadorian, 52 Venezuelan, 35 Unknown).

Family members in the United States inquiring about possible family members interdicted at sea, please contact your local U.S. representative. Relatives located outside the United States please contact your local U.S. Embassy.

CBIG unifies efforts between U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action, in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.

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1 Man Injured, 1 Man Dead After Profit Hills Shootings; CIB Investigating: VIPD

KINGSHILL — An off-duty officer reported hearing shots fired at Profit Hills Apartments (Harvey Project area) at 8:48 p.m. Monday, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Upon making a check, officers discovered shell casings and also detected blood at the scene, according to the VIPD.. 

Hospital security officers at Juan F. Luis Hospital reported a gunshot victim arrived at JFL by private vehicle at 9:00 p.m., police said.

By 9:07 p.m., detectives at the hospital reported another gunshot victim arrived with gunshot injuries in a private vehicle. 

Andres “Pankake” Ponce, Jr., 23, of Estate Kingshill, was pronounced dead by a JFL emergency room medical attendant from multiple gunshot wounds to his body, VIPD Communication Director Glen Dratte said, adding that Pontes’ parents were notified as next of kin,

1 Man Injured, 1 Man Dead After Profit Hills Shootings; CIB Investigating: VIPD
Andres “Pankake” Ponce, Jr.’s presence on social media

The other male victim was treated for his injuries sustained from the shooting and remains in stable condition, according to Dratte.

Preliminary investigation revealed the shootings took place in two separate locations in the Harvey Project-Machuchal area.

This incident is under active investigation. Anyone with information about this fatal shooting, is asked to please call the CIB at 340-712-6082, the CIB Tip Line at 340-778 4950911 or Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-8477.

1 Man Injured, 1 Man Dead After Profit Hills Shootings; CIB Investigating: VIPD
Andres Ponce Jr. Facebook profile picture

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This update includes the correct spelling of Andres Ponce, Jr.’s name. The V.I. Free Press regrets the error in the original version.)

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1 Injured, 1 Dead After Harvey Project Shootings; CIB Investigating: VIPD

KINGSHILL — An off-duty officer reported hearing shots fired at Profit Hills Apartments (Harvey Project area) at 8:48 p.m. Monday, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Upon making a check, officers discovered shell casings and also detected blood at the scene, according to the VIPD.. 

Hospital security officers at Juan F. Luis Hospital reported a gunshot victim arrived at JFL by private vehicle at 9:00 p.m., police said.

By 9:07 p.m., detectives at the hospital reported another gunshot victim arrived with gunshot injuries in a private vehicle. 

Andres “Pankake” Ponce, Jr., 23, of Estate Kingshill, was pronounced dead by a JFL emergency room medical attendant from multiple gunshot wounds to his body, VIPD Communication Director Glen Dratte said, adding that Pontes’ parents were notified as next of kin,

1 Injured, 1 Dead After Harvey Project Shootings; CIB Investigating: VIPD
Andres Ponce Jr.’s presence on social media

The other male victim was treated for his injuries sustained from the shooting and remains in stable condition, according to Dratte.

Preliminary investigation revealed the shootings took place in two separate locations in the Harvey Project-Machuchal area.

This incident is under active investigation. Anyone with information about this fatal shooting, is asked to please call the CIB at 340 712-6082, the CIB Tip Line at 340 778 4950, 911 or Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-8477.

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Help Police Find Antiguan Wanted For Unlawful Sexual Contact With 2 Girls

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Police need your help to find a native of Antigua wanted in connection to unlawful sexual contact with two minor females.

Omari Beltou, 42, of Estate Frydenhoj, is actively being sought by the Virgin Islands Police Department, according to a wanted poster on the VIPD’s Facebook page.

Beltou is described as a Black male who stands about 5-feet, 9-inches tall and weighs about 135 pounds.

Help Police Find Antiguan Wanted For Unlawful Sexual Contact With 2 Girls

If you see Beltou in St. Thomas, you are asked to contact 911 or Detective Y. LoBlack of the VIPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau at (340) 774-2211 extension 5577.

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Man Using Church Bathroom Discovers Female Body In Bushes In Estate Glynn: VIPD

KINGSHILL — A body was found on Midland Road in the vicinity of the Moravian Church in Estate Glynn, by an individual who stated he went off the road to use the bathroom and observed a decomposed body lying in the bushes this week, authorities said. 

The body appears to be of an African-American female who is between 5’3 and 5’6 in height about 135 pounds or more in weight, the Virgin Islands Police Department said Tuesday. The deceased is wearing a royal blue blouse with white and pink flowers, and a beige-colored bra with a blue-dotted pattern.  She has French tip polish designs on her toes. 

The CIB Detectives investigating this case suspect foul play and are awaiting an autopsy report to determine the exact cause of death, according to the VIPD.

The investigation is ongoing by the Criminal Investigation Bureau, anyone with information is urged to contact the CIB Tip-line at 340-778-4950, 911 or Crime Stoppers VI at 1-800-222-8477.  

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Help Police Find Missing Woman Emanda Hartzog On St. Croix: VIPD

CHRISTIANSTED — The children of 54-year-old Emanda Hartzog of Estate Richmond in St. Croix reported her missing, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Hartzog’s children, parents, and siblings who all reside on the mainland have not been able to contact her, according to the VIPD.

The last time any family member spoke to her was on Thursday May 5, 2022, police said. Her family members reported Hartzog missing to police on Tuesday May 10.

“The family stated that they do not go for more than a week without speaking to her,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said.

She is described as a black female, with a brown complexion, medium built, 5’5 in height, with a caesarean scar. 

Chief Detective Lt. Naomi Joseph emphasized “Currently the VIPD Criminal Investigation Bureau cannot verify the missing woman is the deceased woman found on Midland Road, until we receive the Medical Examiners finding (DNA)results.” 

Chief Detective Lt. Joseph further stated, the body found on Midland Road on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, is being investigated as a homicide. We are asking anyone with information to please call the CIB Tip-line at 340 778 4950, Crime Stoppers VI at 1 800 222 TIPS or 911.  

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Adventure Hill Man Who Chopped Off His Own Penis In Suicide Attempt Recovering Now

FREDERIKSTED — A mentally ill St. Croix man who deliberately chopped off part of his penis during a suicide attempt is said to be recovering from his injuries at the Juan F. Luis Hospital this weekend, authorities said.

The 62-year-old resident of Adventure Hill was found conscious at his home Thursday morning following a psychotic episode in which he amputated his genitalia with a kitchen knife, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

The 911 emergency dispatcher sent police to a home in Adventure Hill at 10:43 a.m. Thursday in reference to an attempted suicide, according to the VIPD.

“The reporting person said the victim used a knife to cut his genitals and dismember himself to take his own life,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said.

Officers and Emergency Medical Technicians found the victim bleeding profusely “with a portion of his genitals lying on the ground,” according to Dratte.

The kitchen knife and severed part were recovered at the scene, police said.

The victim was immediately transported to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to re-attach the portion of the penis that was cut off.

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Pennsylvania Fugitive Detained at Cyril E. King Airport: VIPD

CHARLOTTE AMALIE -On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, the Virgin Islands Police Department received a call at 5:41p.m., from Customs and Border Patrol regarding a fugitive that entered the territory through Cyril E. King airport.

Detectives traveled to the airport and contacted CBP agents and were presented with a warrant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for Craig Vanausdal.

Detectives then placed 39-year-old Craig Vanausdal into custody. Vanausdal was booked, processed, and remanded to the Bureau of Corrections pending extradition.

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18-Year-Old Arrested for Discharging Machine Gun In St. Thomas: VIPD 

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Ja’Haile “Pitch” Clendenin was taken into custody pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by the Magistrate Division of the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands on Friday, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Investigation revealed that Clendenin was in possession of a machine gun and Illegally Discharging it in the area Altona and Welgunst on March 31, 2022, according to the VIPD.

18-year-old Ja’Haile Clendenin was arrested and charged with Reckless Endangerment, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, and Illegally Discharging a Firearm, police said.

People had creative solutions to the territory’s crime problems on social media.

“Order him too In list in the military,” Burg Dave said. 

“Bad idea,” Risa Wenna replied to Burg Dave.

“Why? He already loves machine,” Joe Parisi replied to Risa Wenna.

“Just look at his face, the poor boy is fearful and terrible things must have happened to him to make him this way. He needs. skills and dreams and love and compassion to become something good.” Risa Wenna added. “He does not need to be trained to hate and kill . The military will teach him murder is okay. It will teach him thou shall not kill is a joke.”

“The military doesn’t train people to hate just FYI,” Helen Lesley replied to Risa Wenna.

“My father says the army taught him how to hate. Have you killed anyone?” Risa Wenna replied to Helen Lesley.

“Wow, I’m sorry. No I have not killed any living thing deliberately except mosquitoes, and a scorpion and some other bugs,” Helen Lesley replied to Risa Wenna.

Bail was set at $150,000, unable to pay bail Clendenin was remanded to the Bureau of Corrections. 

This case is currently under investigation by the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Criminal Investigation Bureau at 340-774-2211 ex. 5576/5572. They can also contact 911, Crime Stoppers VI at 1-800-222-8477

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Man Wanted In New Hampshire Shooting Arrested By U.S. Marshals In Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN — A 19-year-old teenager, identified as Eduardo Vázquez Rivera, involved in a shooting that occurred on March 27 in the city of Manchester, in the state of New Hampshire, which left a man injured, was captured in Puerto Rico by the U.S. Marshals Service.

According to the Manchester (New Hampshire) Police Department, at around 5:00 a.m. on March 27, they responded to a call about a shooting in the area of ​​Cedar and Chestnut streets.

The person who called authorities said he heard gunshots and then saw two men fleeing the scene.

“Shortly thereafter, Police were informed that a man arrived at Elliot Hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. In the course of the investigation, Manchester detectives identified Vázquez Rivera as the suspect. An arrest warrant was issued in which Vázquez Rivera was accused of attempted murder in the first degree and two counts of reckless conduct, ”said the local police through their social networks.

On April 14, the Hillsborough Superior Court in Manchester issued the arrest warrant against Vázquez Rivera for the case in which he was accused of attempted murder.

The investigation indicates that the shooting was a planned attack. The victim in this case sustained gunshot wounds to the chest, shoulder, and back area. At this time, his condition is unknown.

The suspect in the crime was arrested in the Mercedita community, on the border between Juana Díaz and Ponce, in Puerto Rico.

The Violent Offenders Task Force of the US Marshals Service was in charge of the arrest, which the young man did not resist.

The subject was handed over to the Special Arrests and Extraditions Division of the Police for the due process of extradition.