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Community Shaken as Family Incident Leads to Arrest in St. Thomas

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The Virgin Islands Police Department releases a photo of Justin Vasquez following a domestic incident.

In a distressing turn of events in St. Thomas, Justin Vasquez finds himself facing multiple serious charges after a confrontation escalated dramatically at a local short-term rental property. The incident, which unfolded in the serene surroundings of Estate Nazareth, has left the community in shock and raised concerns about domestic violence and child welfare.

Authorities were called to the scene on a tranquil Sunday, responding to a domestic assault report. Upon arrival, they encountered a woman who recounted a harrowing tale involving Vasquez, her boyfriend, who had allegedly turned violent following an argument exacerbated by alcohol consumption.

The dispute began innocuously, with Vasquez expressing dissatisfaction over perceived neglect, after consuming a considerable amount of alcohol. Attempts by the woman to de-escalate the situation by maintaining distance proved futile, as Vasquez’s agitation spiraled into a physical altercation. The confrontation reached a dangerous crescendo when Vasquez, disregarding the presence of their young child in his partner’s arms, allegedly resorted to violence, further escalating the situation by throwing objects and deploying a chemical irritant.

In a particularly alarming act, Vasquez is accused of pushing the woman into the pool while she was holding their toddler, prompting a swift rescue by the woman’s mother. The immediate aftermath saw Vasquez fleeing the scene, leaving behind a trail of distress and concern for the well-being of the involved parties.

Despite the physical injuries sustained, the mother’s resilience in refusing medical treatment underscores the complex dynamics of domestic altercations. Fortunately, the toddler appeared unharmed, a small solace in the unsettling episode.

Vasquez’s subsequent surrender to authorities did little to alleviate the gravity of his alleged actions. Charged with a slew of offenses, including child abuse and assault, his legal journey began with a bail set by Magistrate Paula Norkaitis at $1,000, which was promptly met. With stringent conditions placed upon his release, including mandatory weekly check-ins and a strict proximity restriction from the victims, the community awaits further developments as Vasquez’s legal proceedings continue.

This incident serves as a poignant reminder of the ever-present issue of domestic violence, sparking conversations about safety, support, and the mechanisms in place to protect the most vulnerable in our society. As the case progresses to its next court date on April 5, many hope for a resolution that ensures justice and healing for all involved.

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Crime

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

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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.

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Crime

Daylight Assault in St. Thomas Leaves Man Injured

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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.

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Six Arrests Made in St. Thomas Drug Trafficking Crackdown

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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.

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