St. Croix Man Dasha Graham Pleads Guilty In Federal Court To Trying To Distribute Marijuana In The Territory

St. Croix Man Dasha Graham Pleads Guilty In Federal Court To Trying To Distribute Marijuana In The Territory

GUILTY PLEA: Dasha Graham of St. Croix

CHRISTIANSTED – A St. Croix man admitted in federal court on Wednesday that he had marijuana and intended to sell it.

Dasha Graham, 22, of the Candido Guadelupe housing community pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge George W. Cannon, Jr., to possession with intent to distribute marijuana, Acting U.S. Attorney Joycelyn Hewlett said.

Sentencing is scheduled for December 29, 2017, Hewlett said.

According to the plea agreement filed with the court, on March 10, 2017, Graham and a co-defendant attempted to enter the secure parking lot at the District Court on St. Croix to drop off paperwork. Graham was driving the vehicle.

The security officer denied entrance and instructed Graham to park in the visitor lot. Graham refused, creating a disturbance and causing a special agent to approach his car.

The agent smelled a strong odor of marijuana, and Graham admitted that there was marijuana in the car. A search of the car yielded Ziploc bags containing 10 phials of marijuana. When interviewed, Graham stated that the marijuana was his and that he had it for sale.

The amount of marijuana was less than 100 grams.

Graham faces a sentence of not more than five years in prison and a fine of not more than $250,000.

On Oct. 2, 2016 Graham was arrested on St. Thomas as part of the Virgin Islands Police Department’s “Operation Clean Sweep.

At that time he was wanted for third-degree burglary, VIPD records indicate.

The case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security Federal Protective Service and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rhonda Williams-Henry.

Puerto Rico Considers Closing Mayaguez Zoo After Puma Dies, Mulls Transferring Remaining Animals Because of Financial Crisis

Puerto Rico Considers Closing Mayaguez Zoo After Puma Dies, Mulls Transferring Remaining Animals Because of Financial Crisis

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SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico’s governor said this week that he is evaluating whether to close the island’s only zoo as he announced that 11 animals will be transferred elsewhere following concerns for their well being amid an economic crisis.

The announcement was made after a puma died over the weekend, the latest death at a zoo flagged for dozens of violations by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Gov. Ricardo Rossello said his administration is investigating whether the Dr. Juan A. Rivero zoo is properly taking care of its animals as it struggles with under staffing and a limited budget.

“Animal welfare is the principle that governs our administration,” Rossello said.

Rossello said that the zoo’s sole elephant will be transferred to a sanctuary in Georgia and that the transfer of 10 felines including pumas, tigers and lions will be overseen by sanctuaries in Colorado and Minnesota.

He said his administration is considering whether to transform the zoo into a public theme park.

Marilyn Arce, the zoo’s sole veterinarian, did not return a call for comment.

The zoo has come under increased scrutiny following complaints about the condition of animal enclosures and the deaths of a tiger and five lion cubs earlier this year, among other things. Nearly 25,000 people from Puerto Rico and elsewhere have signed a petition demanding the zoo be closed.

Susan Soltero, a member of a government committee investigating the zoo’s conditions, praised Rossello’s actions but said more needs to be done.

“I believe the animals are in imminent danger,” Soltero said by phone. “Sanctuaries are available to take in all the animals. I’m not satisfied that they are taking only a few.”

The zoo features some 300 species and is in the western coastal town of Mayaguez.

National Hurricane Center Says That Tropical Storm Irma Strengthened Rapidly Into A Cat 3 Hurricane Poised To Strike St. Croix

National Hurricane Center Says That Tropical Storm Irma Strengthened Rapidly Into A Cat 3 Hurricane Poised To Strike St. Croix

IRMA IRKING: Category 3 Hurricane Irma began its westward track across the Atlantic Wednesday, becoming the ninth named storm of an increasingly busy hurricane season. Early tracking models by The Weather Channel project it hitting St. Croix directly in seven days as a Category 4 storm.

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MIAMI — Tropical Storm Irma continued to gather strength overnight and quickly intensified into a hurricane today, National Hurricane Center forecasters said.

Irma was intensifying steadily in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and grew into the fourth hurricane of the season before 11 a.m. today. By 12 noon, Irma had already become a Category 2 hurricane.

It had sustained winds of 100 mph but presents no immediate threat to any land areas.

The center of Irma is located about 650 miles to the west of the Cabo Verde Islands and is moving westward at 12 mph.

“Global models indicate that the upper-level winds are likely to be favorable for strengthening of Irma during the next several days,” the National Hurricane Center warned. “However, Irma will be moving over more marginal water temperatures and into drier mid-level conditions, which should temper the intensification rate. Irma is forecast to become a hurricane later today but remain over the tropical Atlantic through Tuesday.”

Expert Dan Kottlowski, an AccuWeather hurricane expert, also thinks that Irma is likely to intensify.
“There is the potential to ramp up to a powerful hurricane in the coming days,” Kottlowski said.Meanwhile atmospheric and climate scientist Ryan Maue is predicting that Irma could develop into a Category 4 hurricane – the same strength as Harvey when it hit Texas.“Tropical Storm Irma organising very quickly in far Atlantic. Will head west. But at least 8+ days before earliest potential US threat,” Maue tweeted.“Next 10-days, Tropical Storm Irma will likely become an intense hurricane, category 4 or 5 and near Leeward Islands.”

For the next five days, Irma will continue its general westward movement on the south side of a ridge of high pressure called the Bermuda High, which is centered in the central Atlantic.

Irma should move through a portion of the Atlantic Ocean where upper-level winds are mostly favorable for intensification the next few days. The only hindrance to Irma’s organization is some dry air to its north and west.

The National Hurricane Center said Irma is expected to strengthen into a hurricane today.

Irma will not reach the longitude of the Lesser Antilles (eastern Caribbean) until the middle of next week.

The Lesser Antilles are made up of: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.

While it’s still not clear what impacts it will have to land, The Weather Channel’s track models this morning show it steering more to the southwest on a more ominous course to be a direct hit of St. Croix within seven days (see graphic below).

It’s expected to turn slightly south in the next two days in response to a high pressure system.

Over the next five days, forecasters said there’s a chance winds could reach 120 mph, making Irma a major Category 3 hurricane.

It’s far too early to determine if this new system will pose any threat to the Lesser Antilles and if it will eventually ever pose a threat to other locations, including the U.S.

Check back with the Virgin Islands Free Press online and the V.I. Freep Facebook platform for updates on Irma through the weekend ahead for the very latest.

We will be updating our coverage of Irma frequently based on the latest forecast guidance for its future track and intensity.

This is the first time the name Irma has been used for an Atlantic tropical storm or hurricane.

Irma replaced the name Irene after it was retired for the damage it caused in the Bahamas and the U.S. during the 2011 hurricane season.

To read more about Hurricane Irma becoming a Cat 3 hurricane please click on the first two links below:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2017/08/31/hurricane-irma-forms-atlantic-forecast-reach-extremely-dangerous-major-hurricane-strength/620069001/

https://www.clickorlando.com/weather/irma-grows-into-category-2-hurricane

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT1+shtml/310844.shtml

National Hurricane Center Says That Tropical Storm Irma Strengthened Rapidly Into A Cat 3 Hurricane Poised To Strike St. Croix

IN THE LINE OF FIRE? The Weather Channel this morning produced this graphic indicating that Cat 3 Hurricane Irma is tracking directly towards St. Croix.

 

The Man Sitting On The Beach Next To You In St. Thomas … Might Be A Cop Wanted For Murder In Louisiana

The Man Sitting On The Beach Next To You In St. Thomas ... Might Be A Cop Wanted For Murder In Louisiana

WANTED FOR MURDER OF SIX-YEAR-OLD BOY: Norris Greenhouse Jr. of Louisiana. Greenhouse is now frolicking on a beach somewhere in St. Thomas.

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — That man sitting next to you on the beach, twirling his bare toes in the white sand, might just could be wanted for murder and attempted murder in Louisiana.

Norris Greenhouse Jr., a former law enforcement officer who is scheduled for trial in October for the 2015 murder of six-year-old Jeremy Mardis following a traffic stop in Marksville is currently relaxing on the beach somewhere in St. Thomas.

Greenhouse is currently on $1 million bond while he awaits trial on charges of 2nd degree murder of the child and attempted 2nd degree murder of the child’s father, Christopher Few on Nov. 3, 2015 in Lafayette, La.

He has an Oct. 2, 2017 trial date in Louisiana.

News of Greenhouse’s vacation was originally posted on the Avoyelles Watchdogs for Justice internet blog site.

Although a condition of Greenhouse’s bond is that he wear an ankle bracelet to monitor his movements, defendants on bail are allowed to travel and their whereabouts monitored.

Prosecutors were apparently unaware of Greenhouse’s off-the-U.S.-mainland trip.

“The Louisiana Department of Justice had no knowledge that the defendant would be traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands,” Louisiana Department of Justice press secretary Ruth Wisher said a statement Wednesday.

Defense attorney George Higgins would not comment on his client’s trip.

According to other news reports, Greenhouse has also been accused of having sex with teenage girls (see link below).

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/officer-charged-in-boy-fatal-shooting-accused-of-rape/

http://www.katc.com/story/36265530/still-awaiting-trial-for-murder-marksville-officer-traveled-to-virgin-islands

The Man Sitting On The Beach Next To You In St. Thomas ... Might Be A Cop Wanted For Murder In Louisiana

WALKING TALL: Norris Greenhouse Jr. leaves the court in Louisiana. Greenhouse is facing murder and attempted murder charges for shooting a six-year-old boy to death during a low-speed pursuit as a police officer.

Health Commissioner Michelle Davis Does Walk-Thru Of Juan Luis Hospital And Pronounces It ‘Fit For The Living And The Dead’

Health Commissioner Michelle Davis Does Walk-Thru Of Juan Luis Hospital And Pronounces It 'Fit For The Living And The Dead'

ME NO SEE NOTHIN’: Dr. Michelle Davis says that she would send all of her stateside relatives to the Juan F. Luis Hospital in St. Croix if they were gravely ill … and expect that they would make a full recovery.

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CHRISTIANSTED —  Health Commissioner, Michelle S. Davis, PhD, met with the Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Juan F. Luis Hospital (JFL), Attorney Richard Evangelista, and his team, today to discuss a variety of issues.

Davis said that that the hospital has been experiencing: deterioration of sewage lines, ongoing roof leaks and conditions of mold in the operating rooms, storage of hazardous materials/biomedical red bag/bio hazard/sharps, biomedical waste at the rear of the hospital, and ventilation issues in the morgue.

“We are focusing on addressing the health and safety of the VI community that utilizes JFL for health care,” Davis said. “The Department of Health will be convening with other agencies to get JFL back up to speed.”

The USVI Department of Health (DOH) has reviewed JFL’s plans to address these concerns and finds them to be satisfactory and will be monitoring progress with their plan of correction, on a weekly basis. The DOH is also in contact with Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) to assure that JFL is adhering to CMS regulations.

As a member of the VI Territorial Hospital Board, Commissioner Davis will meet with the board to discuss these urgent issues and to identify the resources to support JFL’s plan of action. Additionally, Commissioner Davis plans to bring the JFL team, other agencies and the territorial board together to make sure that the hospital continues to make rapid improvements.

NOAA Issues Spaghetti Models Of Where Invest 93L Might Strike As Tropical Storm Irma Later In The Week

NOAA Issues Spaghetti Models Of Where Invest 93L Might Strike As Tropical Storm Irma Later In The Week

MIAMI — NOAA’s National Hurricane Center issued a Tropical Weather Outlook at 2 a.m. today due to an area of low pressure that could become a Tropical Storm Irma later this week.

The area of low pressure, dubbed Invest 93L, is located just west of the Cabo Verde Islands.

NHC forecasters say that Invest 93L remains organized, and any significant increase in the associated thunderstorm activity would result in the formation of Tropical Depression 11 by Thursday over the eastern Atlantic.

Invest 93L is forecast to move generally west-northwestward at 15 to 20 mph over the tropical Atlantic during the next several days.

“Invest 93L… it’s going to develop, of that everyone is certain… where is it going to go is what is making everyone nervous,” the U.S. Virgin Islands Tropical Hurricane Weather Station said today. “Will the islands get a direct hit, glancing blow… or dead Still as it passes to our east? Forecast models aren’t in agreement after the next couple of days. That’s nothing new! Sahara dust, wind shear and other factors are just too far out to predict.”

This system has an 90 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours.

Spaghetti models are in general agreement that Invest 93L’s projected path will take the system across the Atlantic and towards the Caribbean. However, it is still too early for the computer models to predict where Invest 93L would make landfall, if at all.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts that the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, could be the busiest in seven years.

Virgin Islands Team Leader Walter Hodge of Puerto Rico Dreams About Making The Final Four At The AmeriCup 2017

Virgin Islands Team Leader Walter Hodge of Puerto Rico Dreams About Making The Final Four At The AmeriCup 2017

HIGH SCORER: Walter Hodge of Puerto Rico has been the game’s high scorer in two out three of the Virgin Islands men’s teams games at the 2017 AmeriCup Championships in Argentina. With a loss on Tuesday, the team still moves on to the semifinals and a chance to play in the Final Four.

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BUENOS AIRES — The Virgin Islands’ men’s basketball team will advance to the semifinals of the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup Championships.

That’s despite losing its final group-play game to sixth-ranked Argentina 104-58 on Tuesday night in Bahia Blanca, Argentina.

The Virgin Islands earned a trip to Cordoba  by taking a three-way tiebreaker over Venezuela and Canada.

Meanwhile, star-scoring point guard Walter Hodge says it is an honor to play for the territory.

Hodge was born on September 21, 1986 in the Puerto Rican municipality of Guaynabo.

But he proudly wears the Virgin Islands’ jersey and showed off his tattoos for a FIBA photo session.

The tattoos represent some of his past, and he marks the story of his life on his skin — by marking each of the places he visits around the world in ink on his body.

“It’s something I’ve always liked,” he said. “It’s art. The first tattoo I had done was my daughter’s name, when I was 19, and then I had the faces of my two sons tattooed. As time went by, I tried to tattoo everything that has happened and has had an impact on me. Everything has sense and a purpose.”

Hodge said that he is grateful to the territory for allowing him to travel around the world pursuing his basketball dream.

“Since I was little, I dreamed of traveling the world with basketball. Thank God I’m able to do so. That’s why I’m planning on inking my right thigh. When I was a child, I used to make paper planes. Now I’ve tattooed one on one of my fingers. I’ll tattoo on my right thigh all of the places I’ve played in, such as something related to the city or country I’ve been in.”

The six-foot-tall point guard also commented on the competition in Group B.

“It’s a young group,” he said. “The most important thing is that we’re going to make them play hard. We’ll give it our best shot. We want to control the defense as well as the offense, because the only thing that we can’t control is their scoring. We’ll give it all and we have nothing to lose.”

After their win in the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 Group B opener over Canada, the point guard said: “I can tattoo something from Bahia. If we win, and we qualify to the Final Four, I will get one about the city.”

http://www.fiba.basketball/americup/2017/2908/Virgin-Islands-Argentina

 

 

Nearly Two Epic Upsets In A Row For The Virgin Islands Men’s Basketball Team In Loss To Venezuela 86-84

Nearly Two Epic Upsets In A Row For The Virgin Islands Men's Basketball Team In Loss To Venezuela 86-84

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BUENOS AIRES — The Virgin Islands Men’s basketball team was going for two upset wins in a row.

The hometown team defeated 24th-ranked Canada 83-71 on Sunday.

On Monday, the Virgin Islanders lost a close one 84-86 to 15th-ranked Venezuela.

Walter Hodge of the Virgin Islands team again was the game’s high scorer with 24 points in a losing effort.

Venezuela impact players for Venezuela were Gregory Vargas, Jose Vargas, John Cox, Nestor Colmenares and Windi Graterol. Guards Vargas and Cox play in Spain and Germany respectively.

The rest of the team are professionals in the Venezuelan League as compared to the Virgin Islands which features several college players.

For the boxscore, please click on the link below:

http://www.fiba.basketball/americup/2017/2808/Venezuela-Virgin-Islands

 

 

Puerto Rico Control Board Sues Gov. Ricardo Rossello For Not Imposing Mandatory Government Employee Layoffs

Puerto Rico Control Board Sues Gov. Ricardo Rossello For Not Imposing Mandatory Government Employee Layoffs

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A federal control board overseeing Puerto Rico’s crisis-ridden finances sued the island’s governor on Monday for refusing to impose furloughs and take other measures it says are needed to save money.

The lawsuit further raises tensions between Gov. Ricardo Rossello and the board, which is demanding public employee furloughs and a pension reform as the U.S. commonwealth tries to restructure a portion of its $74 billion public debt load.

The board also requested an injunction to prohibit the governor from refusing to comply.

“While our preference was to avoid this step, we believe it is a necessary measure to keep Puerto Rico on track with its commitments to reduce spending and build stable foundations for its economic future,” Natalie Jaresko, the board’s executive director, said.

It is the first time the board has gone to court to enforce its demands, and board members have warned that doing so could lead to deeper furloughs if implementation is delayed.

National Hurricane Center Is Watching Invest 93L For Possible Impact In The Virgin Islands And Puerto Rico Next Week

National Hurricane Center Is Watching Invest 93L For Possible Impact In The Virgin Islands And Puerto Rico Next Week

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MIAMI — The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said this morning that it is watching a new area of low pressure near the African coast will likely develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm this week as it veers towards the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The NHC has named the system Invest 93L, which is a convention it uses to identify weather patterns that could eventually form into a tropical cyclone.

In the near-term, Invest 93L will bring locally heavy rain and gusty winds to the Cabo Verde Islands through tomorrow.

The area of low pressure is embedded in a generally moist region of the eastern Atlantic, though dry air lurks to its north and west. In addition, it should move through a portion of the Atlantic Ocean where upper-level winds are mostly favorable for development the next few days.

After passing near the Cabo Verde Islands, the tropical disturbance will then continue to move westward along the southern periphery of a North Atlantic high-pressure system, with no immediate threat to any land areas.

Actually, Invest 93L might not reach the longitude of the Lesser Antilles (eastern Caribbean) until the early or middle portion of next week.

It’s far too early to determine if this new system will pose any threat to the Lesser Antilles and if it will eventually ever pose a threat to other locations, including the U.S.

Suffice to say, there is plenty of time to watch this system.

We are in the heart of the hurricane season, so we monitor every potential Atlantic system closely for development.

Check back with weather.com for updates on this system through the weekend ahead for the very latest.