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Major Operation in St. Croix Uncovers Over 30 Firearms, Including Untraceable ‘Ghost Guns’

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In a significant law enforcement operation in St. Croix, Kishawn Lopez, 35, faces charges for illegal firearm and ammunition possession. U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith highlighted the gravity of gun violence in the Virgin Islands, emphasizing the critical issue of “ghost guns” and illegal firearms in exacerbating the situation. She reiterated the commitment of her office and collaborative efforts with federal and local law enforcement agencies to eradicate these threats.

The operation, executed on November 8, 2023, by federal agents at Lopez’s Frederiksted residence, resulted in the discovery of an alarming array of over 30 firearms. This arsenal included untraceable “ghost guns,” assault rifles, and handguns, along with approximately 5830 rounds of ammunition and several extended magazines. Notably, “ghost guns” are constructed from kits, lacking registration and serial numbers, making them untraceable. Lopez, previously convicted of firearm possession in 2011 and sentenced to 15 months in prison, now faces renewed legal challenges.

The Virgin Islands Violent Crime Task Force, encompassing various federal agencies, including Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Virgin Islands Police Department, spearheaded this operation. Their mission focuses on disrupting and prosecuting individuals responsible for drug and gun violence in the community.

Homeland Security Investigations Resident Agent in Charge Bernhardt Simmonds emphasized the vital role of inter-agency collaboration in combating violent crime and illegal activities in the region. Similarly, Denise Foster, the Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge, underscored the threat posed by criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking, vowing a continued and intensified law enforcement response.

Assistant United States Attorneys Yasir Sadat and Evan Rikhye are prosecuting the case. U.S. Attorney Smith reminds the public that an accusation is simply an allegation, and the principle of presumed innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt stands firm.

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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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