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Help Police Find St. Croix Man Wanted For Child Abuse

FREDERIKSTED Police need your help today to find a St. Croix man wanted on child abuse charges, authorities said.

Jelani Ferdinand, 27, is wanted for child abuse and third-degree assault, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Ferdinand is described as being a Black male who stands about 6-feet, 4-inches tall and weighs about 189 pounds.

If located, you are asked to please call 911 or (340) 778-2211 or make contact with the Criminal Investigation Bureau..

If you know the whereabouts of Mr. Ferdinand, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Help Police Find St. Croix Man Wanted For Child Abuse
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USVI Ends COVID Restrictions For U.S. Travelers Today

CHARLOTTE AMALIE Governor Albert Bryan has issued an Executive Order removing the requirement for the U.S. Virgin Islands Travel Screening Portal for all domestic travel to and from the United States, the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) said on Facebook.

The Executive Order takes effect on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 (today), according to VIPA.

The following exceptions apply:

1. Federal guidelines and restrictions continue to apply to all international travel, including travel from the British Virgin Islands.

2. For all commercial ferry and private water taxi vessels leaving or entering the territorial waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands which must comply with U.S. Coast Guard guidelines.

Read the full Executive Order at  https://www.vi.gov/executive-orders/

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St. Croix Man Faces 5 Years If Convicted On Gun Charge

CHRISTIANSTED United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced Friday that an information was filed charging Rionel Allembert, 21, of St. Croix, with possession of an unlicensed firearm and possession of a firearm with a school zone.

If convicted, Allembert faces up to five years in prison.

According to court documents, on September 28, 2021, members of the
Virgin Islands Police Department located a Taurus 9mm handgun in a ditch at #21 Anna’s Hope, St. Croix. DNA testing later revealed the presence of Allembert’s DNA on the firearm.

Allembert did not have a license to possess the firearm which was located approximately 290 feet from the Church of God of Holiness Academy,a pre school.

This case is being investigated by the Virgin Islands Police Department and members of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force are investigating. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel H. Huston is prosecuting the case.

This case is part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide initiative that brings together federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and community leaders to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in a community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.

For moreinformation on the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, please see: https://www.justice.gov/psn.
United States Attorney Smith reminds the public that a criminal complaint is
merely a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is
presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty

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VIPA Officer Caught With 28 Pounds of Cocaine At Airport

CHRISTIANSTED – A VIPA officer was stopped with about 28 pounds of cocaine at the St. Croix airport, authorities said.

Wayne Jeffers, of St. Croix, appeared Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Emile A.Henderso n, III for an initial appearance stemming from his May 20, 2022, arrest on illegal drug possession charges, U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith said.

Jeffers, 52, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, U.S. Attorney Smith said.

Jeffers faces a minimum sentence of ten (10) years in prison and a maximum fine of $10 million if convicted.

According to court documents, in the early morning hours of May 11, 2022, Jeffers, a Virgin Islands Port Authority Officer at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix, placed a suitcase containing 12 brick-shaped objects onto the driver’s side floor of a ladder truck on the ramp of the airport. The suitcase was seized later that morning and the brick-shaped objects tested positive for cocaine.

The approximate weight of the cocaine is 12.6 kilograms.

This case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel H. Huston.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States
using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.

Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at
https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

United States Attorney Smith reminds the public that a criminal complaint is merely a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt.

Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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Female Body Found On Midland Road Positively Identified: VIPD

KINGSHILL — The body of the Jane Doe that was recovered from River Road west of the Midland Moravian Church was positively identified on Friday, authorities said. 

Emanda Hartzog, 54, was identified by her family based on a compilation of features on the remains that matched Ms. Hartzog, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Hartzog of Estate Richmond, was reported missing by her family on Tuesday May 10, 2022, according to the VIPD.

“The department is seeking information regarding the last days of Ms. Hartzog, who was last seen and heard on Sunday, May 8, 2022, at her residence,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said. “The Criminal Investigation Bureau is seeking information regarding any sightings of her or her vehicle, a blue Ford explorer. We also need information regarding who was in Ms. Hartzog’s company on Sunday, May 8, 2022.” 

Call the CIB TIP-LINE at 340 778 4950, 340 712 6082, Crime Stoppers VI 1 800 222 TIPS or 911. 

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NO MEANS NO! St. Croix Man Accused Of Raping Girlfriend Who Was Too Tired For Sex

FREDERIKSTED — A woman told her boyfriend she was too tired for sex after a long day at work — so he tore off her tights and underwear and raped her, authorities said.

A female victim reported Thursday to the 911 Emergency Call Center that she was sexually assaulted by her intimate male friend, Albert Edwards, the Virgin Islands Police Department said..

The victim stated that on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, she arrived home and was feeling tired from a long day at work, according to the VIPD.

“The victim stated that a verbal altercation ensued between her and Mr. Edwards after declining to have sexual intercourse with him,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said. “The victim continued to state that while lying in bed, dressed in t-shirt and tights, Mr. Edwards sat beside her, aggressively removed her tights and underwear, and sexually assaulted her.” 

The victim further stated that she continuously pushed his hands away and told him to stop, but he refused and continued the assault until she pushed him away from her, according to Dratte.

Albert Edwards, 66, was placed under arrest for first-degree rape-domestic violence, unlawful sexual contact and simple assault & battery. After being read his rights under the law, Edwards declined to give a statement.  

Due to the Domestic Violence Law, no bail was set. Edwards was processed and transported to the John Bell Adult Correctional Facility. 

The fish market on Fisher Street in Frederiksted is officially called the “Albert Edwards Fish Market.”

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DPNR To Celebrate Exotic Pet Amnesty Week

FREDERIKSTED — Commissioner Jean-Pierre L. Oriol of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) announces that Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) will celebrate Exotic Pet Amnesty Week from May 28 to June 4, 2022, to bring attention to the impact of invasive species on the Virgin Islands natural environment.  

Residents are invited to bring in their rare, non-native animal species from birds to snakes for a free permit without penalty, to the Division of Fish & Wildlife. The list does not include livestock such as chickens, ducks, and other farm animals which are permitted through the Department of Agriculture. 

This year’s observance will kick off at the 50th Virgin Islands Agriculture and Food Fair on St. Croix at the DPNR tent. “We’re excited to offer this opportunity at the reopening of the Ag Fair to allow residents and visitors to register their exotic animals free of charge and legally possess them in a responsible manner,” Commissioner Oriol said. “The following week, the public can visit other permitting stations on St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John,” continued Oriol. 

Permitting stations will be staffed by the DFW staff on St. Croix from May 28th to May 30th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the DPNR tent at the Ag Fair or throughout the week at the Mars Hill office from May 31st to June 3rd from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. On St. Thomas and St. John, from June 1st to 3rd, from 4 -7 p.m. at the Coral World Parking Lot and on June 4th, from 12- 3 p.m., at the National Park Visitors Station. Pets must be brought in a secure carrier, otherwise photos should be brought instead. Live animals will be microchipped and or photographed. 

The initiative is funded through a grant from the Department of Interior. For more information, call the office at 340-773-1082 or visit www.dpnr.gov.vi/fish-and-wildlife

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FEMA Obligates $30M To VIWMA On St. Croix For Wastewater Treatment System Design

KINGSHILL  The Federal Emergency Management Agency has jumpstarted the replacement of the St. Croix Wastewater system with a $30 million award to the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority. VIWMA can now begin the architectural and engineering design work for the island of St. Croix. These funds will allow the territory to begin the design in advance of the obligation for the system-wide replacement projected at $1.5 billion.

Late last year, FEMA determined that the damages caused by the storms in 2017, coupled with the age and deterioration of the island’s wastewater facilities, made full replacement the most cost-effective option to meet industry standards, stop frequent sewage overflows and resolve the need for recurring repairs.

“The award provides critical funding to assist the Authority with the procurement of a design firm to engage in proper planning as we begin the arduous process of modernizing the wastewater infrastructure throughout the Territory,” said Roger E. Merritt, Jr., Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority (WMA). He further explained that the Authority is now closer to construction as the WMA is working to solicit a firm to provide the design work.

“This is not just one step forward for the Waste Management Authority. It is also a critical piece to addressing the “One Dig” mandate,” said Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien, Director of the Office of Disaster Recovery. “The identification of funding to begin design work ensures that the replacement of wastewater lines is included in other infrastructure projects for electrical undergrounding and water line projects already on the drawing board. The Office of Disaster Recovery thanks FEMA for their proactive approach to addressing this issue and will continue to coordinate with consultants Witt O’Brien’s to identify solutions to moving the Recovery forward.”

The wastewater replacement determinations for St. Thomas and St. John are expected by the end of the year.

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Economic Crimes Unit Arrests Woman For Stealing Co-Worker’s Paychecks

FREDERIKSTED  — Detectives with the VIPD’s Economic Crimes Unit initiated an investigation into a fraudulent money transaction.

The investigation revealed that on December 11th and 31st of 2020, Juliandrea Toomer stole two checks totaling $905.27 from her co-worker and mobile deposited same into her minor son’s USAA checking account, without the co-worker’s knowledge, the Virgin Islands Police Department said. 

On May 23, 2022, at approximately 5:36 p.m., detectives from the Economic Crimes Unit executed an arrest warrant and placed Toomer under arrest at her Marley Homes residence, without incident.

Toomer was charged with obtaining money by false pretense, grand larceny and access to computer for fraudulent purposes, according to the VIPD. 

Toomer, 34, of Estate Two Brothers, was transported to the Wilbur H. Francis Police Operation Building in Frederiksted, where she was processed and booked.

Bail for Toomer was set at $20,000.00. Unable to post bail, she was remanded to the Bureau of Corrections pending an advice-of-rights hearing.

Her next scheduled court hearing is set for Wednesday, May 25, 2022. 

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Help Police Catch 3 Armed Robbers Who Hit Taste Of Margarita’s On Saturday Night

FREDERIKSTED — Police need your help to identify three masked suspects involved in an armed robbery of a Smithfield bar and restaurant on Saturday night.

The Virgin Islands Police Department released surveillance video of the armed robbery that took place at Taste of Margarita’s.

Help Police Catch 3 Armed Robbers Who Hit Taste Of Margarita's On Saturday Night

All three suspects wore black masks to cover their faces, dark clothing and white sneakers.

Two of the suspects were armed and kept their guns trained on restaurant employees while the unarmed man gathered the cash from the cash register.

The robbery took place about 200 yards from the main police headquarters in Estate Mars Hill.

Help Police Catch 3 Armed Robbers Who Hit Taste Of Margarita's On Saturday Night
Two suspects flee while ringleader holds gun on employees.

People tended to take a dim view of the suspects on social media.

“Oh my!!.. its seems he can’t really breath through the mask mouth wide open sad (sad emoji) this young ppl need to go and work for what they want,” Claudia Albert said on Facebook.

“Yes he appears to be in training .He can barely breathe . He looks new to the game (embarrassed emoji)..Island is too small for all that foolishness,” Erica Williams replied to Claudia Albert.

“Why the one with the gun look special,” Tika G. Jude said.

“How so much going on in a small island?! SMH what’s going on with the law enforcement? Seriously,” Yahaira ML said.

Help Police Catch 3 Armed Robbers Who Hit Taste Of Margarita's On Saturday Night
Ringleader who called the shots during the armed robbery.

“That’s next to the police station they brave now if they had gotten more than what they went for they mother would be holding her belly,” Hodge McIntosh Mikah said.

“Well, it won’t be too hard to identify the one with his shoe string mask and the way he stayed right in front of the camera the entire time,” Jenna Fox said.

“They don’t look very good at their job do they? Time for this trio to take a few semesters in the school of prison for some hold-up tips,” John Gazarek said.

If you can identify any or all of the three suspects, please call 911, or the VIPD at 340-773-2211 or Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-8477.