Connect with us

Crime

Breakthrough in St. Croix Murder Investigation: Arrests Made

Published

on

Daren Bess (left) and Ian Benjamin, Jr. (right), arrested in connection to the St. Croix homicide case. Courtesy of the Virgin Islands Police Department.

The Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) has made significant progress in the homicide investigation of 30-year-old Kevin Jerome, a resident of Williams Delight, who was tragically shot and killed on February 26, 2021. This case saw a major development with the arrest of Darren Bess and Ian Benjamin Jr.

Upon receiving a distress call at 9:57 a.m. on the day of the incident, VIPD officers were dispatched to Main Street in Williams Delight, where they discovered Jerome next to an SUV, critically injured with a gunshot wound to the head. The SUV was riddled with bullet holes. Jerome was swiftly transported to Juan F. Luis Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. His identity was confirmed by a family member.

The thorough investigation by VIPD revealed a conspiracy between Bess and Benjamin Jr. to murder Jerome. Evidence directly implicated Benjamin in the crime, notably his use of a firearm in both prior and subsequent criminal activities. Benjamin was found with the weapon and subsequently apprehended.

The V.I. Supreme Court issued arrest warrants for the suspects. On March 1, 2024, Ian Benjamin Jr. was taken into custody peacefully and detained at John Bell Correctional Facility, with bail set at $1 million. Following a hearing on March 4, 2024, presided over by Magistrate Morris, Benjamin was released on an unsecured bond, under his mother’s third-party custodianship.

Darren Bess was arrested on March 6, 2024, in Placer County, California, pursuant to a VIPD warrant related to Jerome’s murder. He is currently being held, awaiting extradition to the Virgin Islands to answer to murder charges.

The VIPD extends its heartfelt appreciation to the US Marshal’s Office for their invaluable assistance in capturing Bess and acknowledges the community’s ongoing support throughout this investigation. The department encourages anyone with information related to this case or other criminal activities to reach out to Crime Stoppers or the VIPD tip line at 340-778-4950, aiding in the pursuit of justice and community safety.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Crime

Former Deputy Park Superintendent of St. Croix Sentenced for Property Conversion and Fraud

Published

on

ST. CROIX, VI – Gregory Camacho, 43, previously Deputy Park Superintendent for the National Park Service in St. Croix, received a sentence of nine months of home detention and four years of probation for unlawfully converting property, according to U.S. Attorney for the USVI, Delia L. Smith. The sentencing was handed down by District Judge Wilma A. Lewis on Thursday.

In addition to home detention and probation, Judge Lewis imposed a $6,000 fine and a special assessment of $75 on Camacho. He was also ordered to pay restitution amounting to $29,502.20 to the National Park Service.

According to court filings, Camacho, during his tenure as acting park superintendent from June 2019 to August 2020, occupied two housing units owned by the National Park Service without fulfilling rental payments, causing a loss of $14,192.10. In another instance in July 2019, Camacho deceitfully claimed relocation expenses for his family’s move from Titusville, FL, to St. Croix, even though he moved alone. This action led to unjust reimbursements totaling $13,387.50.

Furthermore, between October 2018 and September 2019, Camacho was found to have submitted overlapping travel vouchers for the same trips from his primary duty station, resulting in an additional $1,922.50 in improper gains.

These findings were brought to light through an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of the Interior, with the case prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel H. Huston.

Continue Reading

Crime

Daylight Assault in St. Thomas Leaves Man Injured

Published

on

A distressing incident unfolded on St. Thomas when a man suffered injuries in a daylight assault in Simmonds Alley, according to a statement from the V.I. Police Department. The attack occurred on Wednesday around 12:15 p.m.

Authorities were alerted to the situation when the 911 Emergency Call Center received a call about a man found bleeding from the neck near the Jala Jala establishment on Kronprindsens Gade. Responding officers discovered the victim with a severe laceration on the left side of his neck, believed to be the result of the assault.

Despite the seriousness of his injuries, the victim refrained from providing a statement to law enforcement at the scene. He was quickly transported to Schneider Regional Medical Center for medical attention.

The VIPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau has taken charge of the investigation and is urging the public to assist by providing any relevant information. Individuals can contact the CIB at (340) 774-2211 or call 911. For those preferring to stay anonymous, tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers USVI by calling 1-800-222-8477 or online.

Continue Reading

Crime

Six Arrests Made in St. Thomas Drug Trafficking Crackdown

Published

on

ST. THOMAS — A targeted joint operation by the Virgin Islands Police Department, alongside the Drug Enforcement Agency and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, resulted in the arrest of six men accused of drug-related crimes in the Red Hook area, a noted hub for illegal narcotics activity.

Throughout February, these coordinated efforts focused on dismantling drug trafficking networks, culminating in several key arrests:

  • N’Kel Morton, 30, was taken into custody at Red Hook Plaza on March 8, 2024, facing charges of cocaine possession with intent to distribute.
  • On March 7, 2024, Jaamal Bell, 42, was arrested at American Yacht Harbor, charged with intent to distribute narcotics.
  • Peter Francis Jr., 33, encountered the same fate at the same location, on identical charges.
  • Anwar Lockhart, 40, was arrested on March 15, 2024, on Cassi Hill for cocaine distribution.
  • Niah Henry, 35, was apprehended on March 16, 2024, at Red Hook Plaza, with charges similar to Morton’s.
  • Kenson Plasimond, 43, was arrested on March 7, 2024, at Tutu Park Mall, also charged with possession with intent to distribute.

These arrests signify a continued commitment by local and federal law enforcement to curb the flow of illegal drugs in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Continue Reading

Trending