Woman Who Used Photo of Credit Card To Go On $8,370 Spending Spree Arrested

CHRISTIANSTED — Detectives with the VIPD’s Economic Crime Unit arrested 29-year-old Nandei McIntosh at 6:19 p.m. Wednesday and charged her with fraudulent use of credit card access to computer for fraudulent purposes and grand larceny.

McIntosh was served with an arrest warrant at The Fred Hotel and taken into official custody without incident, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

On April 1, 2022, Detectives from the Economic Crimes Unit investigation revealed that on February 15, 2022, Nandei McIntosh took a picture of an individual Bank of St. Croix credit card and made several online purchases totaling $8,370.09, without his permission, according to the VIPD.    

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

“The Economic Crime Unit is committed to protecting the citizens of the territory and their property,” ECU Territorial Commander Lt. Deborah Hodge said. “We recognize that economic crime is a growing problem that ultimately affects the quality of life in numerous ways. We will continue to send the message through aggressive enforcement regardless of the magnitude.”   

To report fraudulent activities in the territory on St. Thomas call 340 -774-2211, on St Croix, call 340-778-2211 or 340-513-3780

HOLY HOUDINI! Double-Jointed Destruction Of Property Suspect Shows Cops How He Slipped Off Handcuffs When Recaptured By Police

KINGSHILL — A St. Croix man wanted on a domestic violence charge might have missed his calling as an escape artist because he easily shed his handcuffs when first detained, authorities said.

Akil Simmonds, 31, was re-arrested at 7:18 p.m. Wednesday in Estate Glynn and charged with destructions of property-domestic violence, disturbance by threats and escape from custody, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte told the Virgin Islands Free Press today that Simmonds was able to get out of the handcuffs because of the hyperlaxity of his hand.

“He’s real slim and double jointed, he was able to bend his thumb, and slip his wrist and fingers through the handcuffs,” Dratte explained. “He illustrated that to the officers.” 

HOLY HOUDINI! Double-Jointed Destruction Of Property Suspect Shows Cops How He Slipped Off Handcuffs When Recaptured By Police
VIPD mugshot of Akil Simmonds

No bail was set as per the domestic violence statute. Simmonds was remanded to the John Bell Adult Correctional Facility pending an advice-of-rights hearing. 

St. Croix Deputy Chief Uston Cornelius thanked the community for providing information, the patrol officers and the Special Operations Bureau Team “who pounded the pavement for the last 24 hours until Simmonds was apprehended.”  

Cane Carlton Man Accused Of Taking $500 From Bank With Friend’s ATM Card

KINGSHILL  Detectives of the VIPD’s Economic Crime Unit arrested 40-year-old Kareem Edwards of Estate Cane Carlton on Wednesday morning, charging him with obtaining money by false pretense, grand larceny and other related charges.

The ECU investigation revealed that on January 16, 2021, Edwards took his former acquaintance’s Banco Popular card and withdrew $500.00 dollars from the Sunshine Mall ATM machine, without her permission, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

On June 22, 2022, at approximately 11:04 a.m., Detectives from the Virgin Islands Police Department Economic Crimes Unit executed an arrest warrant and placed Edwards under arrest in the vicinity of Kmart, West, without incident.

Cane Carlton Man Accused Of Taking 0 From Bank With Friend's ATM Card
VIPD mugshot of Kareem Edwards

Edwards was charged with Obtaining Money by False Pretenses, Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, Identity Theft, and Grand Larceny, according to the VIPD.

Edwards was transported to the Wilbur H. Francis Police Operation Building in Frederiksted, where he was processed and booked.

Bail for Edwards was set at $20,000.00. Unable to post bail, he was remanded to the custody of the Bureau of Corrections pending an advice-of-rights hearing scheduled for tomorrow.

Detectives from the Economic Crimes Unit began the investigation into a fraudulent bank activity on Edward’s part on January 27, 2021.

Government House Clarifies Who Owns Limetree Bay Refinery

CHRISTIANSTED — Government House issued the following statement clarifying the ownership of the Limetree Bay Refinery on St. Croix:

“The Government of the Virgin Islands takes very seriously the stewardship of the Limetree Bay refinery. The sale of the refinery was conducted pursuant to the legal procedures and processes of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The details of that sale are publicly available in the docket of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, Case 21-32351. 

“By public order dated December 21, 2021, the Court approved the sale of the refinery pursuant to the terms of the Asset Purchase Agreement attached to the order. West Indies Petroleum Limited (WIPL) together with Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation LLLP (PHRT), were designated as the winning bidder under the order and are parties to the Asset Purchase Agreement as purchaser.

 “Title to the Purchased Assets was transferred to Port Hamilton at the time of closing, per the bill of sale attached to the Asset Purchase Agreement. So while both WIPL and Port Hamilton were Purchasers under the Agreement, the court filings indicate that title to the assets and contracts was in Port Hamilton from the onset.  All of this information has been and continues to be public record. 

“As usual, the government will continue to monitor developments at the refinery.”

Crew Member of La Gran Tormenta Faces 10 Years In Prison For Cocaine Smuggling

CHRISTIANSTED — A sixth member of the 11-member La Gran Tormenta Venezuelan fishing boat has pleaded guilty to his role in smuggling 124 pounds of cocaine to St. Croix.

Alexis Fuentes, 33, who was apprehended at sea off the coast of St. Croix, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Emile A. Henderson, III to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine while on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith said.

The sentencing date for Fuentes is scheduled for October 19, 2022.

For his conviction, Fuentes faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 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, on the evening of September 25, 2019, the United
States Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter Donald Horsley intercepted a suspicious 55-foot vessel named La Gran Tormenta displaying Venezuelan nationality indicia approximately 38 nautical miles south of St. Croix.

Occupants of the La Gran Tormenta failed to respond to USCG’s efforts to engage in questioning of the crew, and upon detection, the La Gran Tormenta changed course and began jettisoning packages. Thereafter, the USCG requested and received permission to stop the vessel from Venezuela, the flag state of the vessel.

The USCG personnel then attempted a right-of-visit boarding which was ineffective because crew of the La Gran Tormenta disregarded the USCG’s instructions.

Eventually, USCG personnel disabled the La Gran Tormenta and a counter-drug boarding team later encountered 11 persons, including Fuentes.

The USCG Cutter Donald Horsley boarding crew subsequently retrieved two bales from the water. The two jettisoned bales contained brick-shaped objects which tested positive for cocaine and weighed approximately 49 kilograms.

The smuggling of cocaine has increased in Venezuela in the 2010s, going from about 25 percent of South American cocaine coming from the country in 2010 to about 33 percent in 2015.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa P. Ortiz.

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.

Most Popular Tourism Destination In The Caribbean To Host Cruise Ship Conference

SANTO DOMINGO The most popular tourist destination in the region will host “the only official cruise conference representing the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America.”

The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) said today that the Dominican Republic will host the 2022 FCCA Cruise Conference.

Taking place in Santo Domingo from October 11-14, the event will feature a series of meetings, workshops and networking opportunities with an expected 100 high-level executives from FCCA member lines which represent at least 90 percent of global ocean cruising capacity.

Most Popular Tourism Destination In The Caribbean To Host  Cruise Ship Conference
Detail of the iron face gate in front of Santa Maria La Menor Church in Santo Domingo. It dates back to 1512 and Christopher Columbus.

It will also allow the Dominican Republic to showcase its potential for increased benefits from cruise tourism and help the destination fulfill targeted objectives.

“I am thankful for the continued partnership with the Dominican Republic that paved the way to hosting the FCCA Cruise Conference,” said Micky Arison, Chairman of Carnival Corporation and FCCA. “This will be a crucial time and place for the industry gather to continue cruise tourism’s recovery, and it is a testament to the country’s commitment.”

All Conference participants will have access to workshops led by cruise executives and successful stakeholders, including ones focused on tour operators and increasing local employment and sourcing opportunities.

Participants will also have opportunities to interact with the expected 100 cruise executives during a series of meetings – including one-on-one meetings – and networking functions throughout the event, which will be celebrating FCCA’s 50th anniversary.

Additionally, the Dominican Republic will showcase some of the best to see, eat and hear in the destination for cruise guests, along with what its opportunities for growth that hosting the event has historically driven.

Before, during and after the event, FCCA will work with the Dominican Republic toward its goals of developing a new cruise terminal in Samana and increasing demand for Sans Souci Terminal in Santo Domingo. FCCA is also partnering with the Dominican Republic on initiatives focused on cruise lines hiring citizens, cruise ships sourcing local goods, and increasing the already high percentage of cruisers that return as overnight guests.

The Dominican Republic is number one in tourism in the Caribbean and is the number two sex tourism destination in the world led strongly by Bangkok, Thailand.

The Bahamas attracts the most cruise ship passengers in the region on a yearly basis. Puerto Rico is number one in cruise ship home porting in the Caribbean.

More details about and registration for the event will be announced in the coming months and available at www.FCCAConference.com

Human Services Offices Closed Half Day for Staff Training On Friday

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Commissioner Kimberley Causey-Gomez said that all DHS offices will be closed on Friday, 24 June 2022 from 1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. for a mandatory ESF6 Mass Care Disaster and Emergencies Training. All residential facilities and 24/7 emergency services will maintain normal operations.

For more information, please visit the Department of Human Services website, www.dhs.gov.vi or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/usvidhs) at US Virgin Islands Department of Human Services.

The Department of Human Services (VIDHS) exists to provide social services to members in our community with diverse needs. In times of national uncertainty and hardship we act as a safety-net and exist to inspire hope and empower change through non-judgmental, quality delivery of needed services and resources.

Please visit the Department of Human Services website, www.dhs.gov.vi for more information.
For more information on COVID-19, the new strain of coronavirus, please visit the USVI Department of Health’s
website, www.doh.vi.gov/coronavirus or text COVID19USVI to 888777. #COVID19USVI
The Bryan-Roach Administration is investing in the Territory’s people, infrastructure, and future through
transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government and ensuring that recovery projects are
completed as quickly as possible. Visit transparency.vi.gov.

9th Mayor in Puerto Rico This Year Accused of Corruption

A former Puerto Rico mayor who vanished earlier this year while still in his position has pleaded guilty in a federal corruption case

SAN JUAN — A former Puerto Rico mayor who vanished earlier this year while still in his position appeared in court Tuesday and pleaded guilty in a federal corruption case.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said José Luis Cruz is accused of participating in a bribery conspiracy and receiving $10,000 in exchange for the award of municipal asphalt, paving and trash removal contracts.

He could face up to five years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

Cruz resigned late last week after serving as mayor of the northern town of Trujillo Alto for more than a decade.

He is the ninth Puerto Rican mayor to face federal corruption charges in recent months.

Brackets Announced for 2022 U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The brackets and schedule for the 2022 U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam were finalized, tournament officials announced Tuesday.

The men’s tournament will be played November 18-21 with all games played at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center and streamed on ESPN3.

The men’s tournament will be a traditional eight-team bracket, with the women’s field being split into two, four-team round-robin tournaments. All times are Atlantic Standard Time and are subject to change.

On the men’s side, play will begin with Game 1 on Nov. 18 with Buffalo and Drake at 2 p.m. Then in Game 2, Howard will take on Wyoming at 4:15 p.m. Later in the evening is the Game 3 matchup of Tarleton State and Belmont at 6:45 p.m., followed by Game 4 with Boston College facing George Mason at 9 p.m. to wrap up the opening day.

Losing teams on day one will play the 19th at 4:15 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., with the winners getting a day off and playing each other on the 20th at 6:45 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the semifinals.

The tournament’s final day on November 21 will feature four more games, with the 7th-place game at 2 p.m., the 4th-place game at 4:15 p.m., the 3rd-place game at 6:45 p.m., and a 9 p.m. tip-off for the championship.

Fan travel packages will be sold at a later date so you can follow your team to paradise. For more information leading up to the tournament, check out the Paradise Jam on social media, and the website paradisejam.com.

Full Schedule:

Men’s Tournament

Nov. 18

  • Game 1: Buffalo vs. Drake (11 a.m. MT)
  • Game 2: Howard vs. Wyoming (1:15 p.m. MT)
  • Game 3: Tarleton State vs. Belmont (3:45 p.m. MT)
  • Game 4: Boston College vs. George Mason (6 p.m. MT)

Nov. 19

  • Game 5: Loser G1 vs. Loser G2 (1:15 p.m. MT)
  • Game 6: Loser G3 vs. Loser G4 (3:45 p.m. MT)

Nov. 20

  • Game 7: Winner G1 vs. Winner G2 (3:45 p.m. MT)
  • Game 8: Winner G3 vs. Winner G4 (6 p.m. MT)

Nov. 21

  • Game 9 (7th place): Loser G5 vs. Loser G6 (11 a.m. MT)
  • Game 10 (4th place): Winner G5 vs. Winner G6 (1:15 p.m. MT)
  • Game 11 (3rd place): Loser G7 vs. Loser G8 (3:45 p.m. MT)
  • Game 12 (Championship): Winner G7 vs. Winner G8 (6 p.m. MT)

NHC Watching One Tropical Wave In The Caribbean

MIAMI — Conditions in the Atlantic basin remained quiet today, with forecasters watching one tropical wave in the eastern Caribbean Sea, according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

There’s more activity in the eastern Pacific, which has already experienced Hurricanes  Agatha and Blas. Tropical Depression Celia is forecast to become a tropical storm later today.

Dry air, Saharan dust and strong winds — which tear apart developing tropical systems — have helped keep activity low since Potential Tropical Cyclone One crossed Florida June 3-4. It later strengthened into Tropical Storm Alex, the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.

NHC Watching One Tropical Wave In The Caribbean

But warm waters and a weak storm system called the Central American gyre make a tropical system in the Caribbean a possibility into early July, according to AccuWeather forecasters.

The next named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season will be Bonnie.