Local USVI News

Man Arrested at Airport for Possessing Firearms and High-capacity Magazines

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ST. THOMAS — A man identified as Jakel Bell was arrested at the Cyril E. King Airport for gun and ammunition-related offenses after an operation conducted by the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents.

On Thursday, March 16, CBP agents alerted VIPD officers about a bag on an inbound flight suspected to contain firearms. At the baggage claim area, officers observed Bell speaking on a mobile phone before retrieving a black bag from the conveyor belt and exiting without declaring any firearms at the VIPD kiosk.

CBP officers detained Bell and searched the bag, finding a green case with padlocks inside. The case contained two disassembled Zaviar Z-15 semi-automatic pistols and two 30-round magazines in their original packaging. A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent confirmed the weapons to be functional and operational.

Investigations revealed that Bell had not traveled that day and the bag was not his, as the baggage claim ticket was in someone else’s name. Bell was subsequently arrested and charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and failure to declare a firearm.

His advice of rights hearing took place on Friday, March 17, 2023. However, no information was available regarding his pre-trial release at the time of publication.

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