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V.I. Port Authority Temporarily Closes Cyril E. King Airport

CHARLOTTE AMALIE The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) temporarily closed the St. Thomas airport at 4 p.m. Monday “to perform a minor repair.”

But by 4:50 p.m., VIPA said the Cyril E. King Airport’s runway was reopened.

“VIPA thanks the traveling public for their patience,” the quasi-governmental authority said on Twitter.

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California Woman Flagged As Fugitive For Grand Theft Auto At St. Thomas Airport

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A California woman was flagged at the St. Thomas airport by federal officials as a fugitive from justice for grand theft auto, authorities said.

Alicia Alcala – also known as Alicia Long Puertas, age 46 of Diamond Bar, California – was arrested at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday as a fugitive from justice, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Alcala – who is wanted in Florida for failure to appear on a grand theft vehicle charge – was detained at the Cyril E. King Airport by U.S. Customs & Border Protection agents and turned over to VIPD detectives.

Bail for Alcala was set at $5000. Unable to post bail, she was turned over to the custody of the Bureau of Corrections, pending her extradition hearing.

VIPD Criminal Investigation Bureau detectives arrested and charged Alcala, according to VIPD spokesman Toby Derima.

All individuals listed as arrested or charged with a crime in this report are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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New York City Man With 3 Pounds Of Marijuana In Luggage Convicted Today

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A New York man was convicted of smuggling over three pounds of marijuana on a flight to St. Thomas, authorities said.

Christopher Dunn, resident of New York City, was convicted today for possession with intent to distribute marijuana, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

According to the evidence presented at trial, on February 11, 2021, Christopher Dunn arrived at the Cyril E. King airport on an inbound flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport, on board Delta Airlines flight 635. While conducting an inbound inspection, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered a green leafy material in the contents of Dunn’s carry-on luggage.

CBP officers then proceeded to escort Dunn to secondary inspection. Once in secondary inspection, officers conducted a thorough search of Dunn’s carry-on bags and discovered inside three vacuum sealed bags of marijuana. In total, Dunn had 1.37 kilograms of marijuana.

This case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations and CBP. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Natasha Baker and Juan Albino, and is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation.

OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Dunn will be sentenced at a later date.

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St. Thomas Man Who Hid 9 Pounds Of Cocaine In Airport Bathroom Gets 3 Years

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A St. Thomas contractor who stuffed nearly nine pounds of cocaine in an airport bathroom wall was given more than three years in prison by a federal judge, authorities said.

Keilin Lopez Lopez, 22, resident of Charlotte Amalie, was sentenced to 37 months imprisonment followed by a four-year term of supervised release for possessing with intent to distribute approximately four kilograms of cocaine, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

According to court documents, on July 31, 2020 at approximately 6:30 p.m., a Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) employee witnessed a male tampering with a trashcan in a stall in the male restroom located inside the Cyril E. King terminal.

Officers removed the trashcan from the wall revealing an open recess in between both sides of the interior wall. One large brick-shaped bundle and one small brick-shaped bundle containing approximately four kilograms of cocaine were lying at the bottom of the recess where the trashcan was previously inserted.

Airport surveillance footage showed a male, later identified as Keilin Lopez Lopez, wearing a backpack enter the bathroom where the bundles were discovered. Officers located Mr. Lopez who is an employee for a company contracted to work on the airport remodel. After being advised of his constitutional rights, Mr. Lopez waived them and stated he removed the trashcan from the wall in the restroom stall and placed the bundles inside the wall.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Assistant United States Attorney Juan Albino prosecuted the case.

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.

Additionalinformation about the OCDETF Pr ogram can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

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Las Vegas Straw Purchaser Of Guns Gets Nearly 2 Years For Handoff To St. Thomian

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Nevada man who straw purchased guns — including a machine gun and a Glock — was given nearly two years in prison by a federal judge in St. Thomas, authorities said.

Michael Kelly, 30, of Las Vegas, was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment followed by a three-year term of supervised release for assisting in trafficking firearms in interstate commerce, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

According to court documents, on April 16, 2016, Kelly purchased two firearms, a Romarm/Century Arms Draco caliber 7.62x39mm and a Glock Model 22 pistol 40 caliber S&W, from a firearms dealer in Las Vegas. While purchasing the firearms, Kelly completed ATF Form 4473 for the purchase.

On that form, Kelly stated that he was the actual buyer and was not purchasing the firearms for another person. After purchasing the firearms, Kelly provided the firearms to his co-defendant, Naeem Smith, who paid him $1,200.00 for the purchase.

On April 25, 2016, Kelly purchased two additional firearms, a Glock Model 22 pistol 40 caliber S&W and a Glock Model 22 pistol 40 caliber S&W, from another firearms dealer in Las Vegas and again filled out and signed the ATF Form 4473 for his purchase. In the form, Kelly stated that he was the actual buyer and was not purchasing the firearms for another person.

After purchasing the firearms, Kelly provided the firearms to Naeem Smith, who paid him another $1,800.00 for the purchase.

On April 28, 2016, Naeem Smith traveled to St. Thomas from Las Vegas. At the Cyril E. King Airport, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers inspected Naeem Smith’s checked bag and discovered multiple firearms, including the firearms that defendant Michael Kelly, had purchased for Naeem Smith described previously.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Delia Smith and Juan Albino prosecuted 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 more information on the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, please see:
https://www.justice.gov/psn

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Orlando Man Gets 3 Years In Prison For Smuggling 30 Pounds Of Ganja Into STT

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Florida habitual offender was given more than three years in prison by a federal judge for smuggling at least 27.8 pounds of marijuana into the territory, authorities said.

Marvin Forbes, 49, from Orlando, was sentenced to 37 months of incarceration by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Robert A. Molloy on his conviction of possession with intent to distribute marijuana after qualifying as a career offender in federal court, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

According to court documents, on June 19, 2020, Forbes arrived at the Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas on Spirit Airlines flight #1610 which departed from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Upon arrival in St. Thomas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers conducted an inspection of Spirit Airline’s checked bags. CBP K-9 “Sherpa” later alerted to the presence of narcotics in Forbes’ checked bag.

After Forbes removed his bag from the baggage claim belt, CBP officers escorted him to secondary for inspection. In secondary, CBP officers cut a lock that was placed on Forbes’ suitcase after he failed to produce the key to open the lock. Inside Forbes’ suitcase, CBP officers discovered eight (8) vacuum sealed packages, each containing multiple smaller, individually vacuum sealed packages, of marijuana with a total weight of 12.61 kilograms.

Forbes entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court on May 17, 2021.

At sentencing, Forbes qualified as a career offender pursuant to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines based on the facts that: (1) he was at least 18 years old at the time he committed the offense of conviction; (2) his conviction is a felony that is either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense; and (3) Forbes had at least two prior felony convictions
of either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense. As a career offender, Forbes’ guideline sentence was increased from 24 to 37 months of incarceration.

This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and CBP. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Delia Smith.

The case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

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St. Thomas Man With 7.7 Pounds Of Marijuana On Flight Gets Probation

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A St. Thomas man who smuggled 7.7 pounds of marijuana into the territory aboard a commercial airline flight was given probation by a federal judge.

Kharim Moore of Charlotte Amalie was sentenced today to three years’ probation, fined $1,000, and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

According to court documents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers were conducting screenings of arriving passengers at the Cyril E. King Airport on November 4, 2020 when Moore disembarked a Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta, Georgia. He was selected for inspection and his carryon backpack was searched.

Officers discovered nine vacuum sealed packages with a green leafy substance inside that weighed approximately 3.48 kilograms. The substance tested positive for marijuana.

The Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations and CBP investigated the case.

It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Payne.

The case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal
organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multiagency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies
against criminal networks.