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Man Arrested for Prison Contraband Attempt with Family Onboard

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In a dramatic turn of events in St. Croix, Jahmar Frederick, a man with a notable criminal history, has been apprehended following an audacious attempt to deliver contraband to the John A. Bell Correctional Facility, all while having his sister and her young children in the car.

It began on a regular Saturday afternoon when a vigilant correctional officer noticed an individual sprinting towards the prison’s visiting area fence. This individual was observed as he endeavored to sneak a sizable black garbage bag through the prison’s inner barrier. On hearing the officer’s command to cease, the suspect fled to a maroon Honda Crosstour parked on prison premises and sped off.

The fast-thinking officer, cognizant of the gravity of the situation, promptly alerted the prison’s Central Control to impede the maroon car from departing the front gate. Additionally, a law enforcement official from the Gang Intelligence Search Team, positioned within the prison, caught wind of this communication and sprang into action, rushing to assist and reinforce the guard booth’s orders.

When the police attempted to block the Honda’s path, a tense chase ensued. In a dramatic standoff, as multiple Bureau of Corrections vehicles joined the pursuit, Frederick’s vehicle, in a bold move, headed straight for one of them. Quick reflexes on the part of the officers allowed them to counteract, attempting to use their vehicle to stop the Honda.

In the wake of the high-octane chase, the maroon Honda eventually came to a standstill, boxed in by officers. But the shocks didn’t end there. Inside, the officers discovered not just Frederick, but also his sister and her children, aged five and six. Astonishingly, only the sister and the children had been logged in during their initial arrival at the prison.

Contained within the Honda was the suspicious garbage bag, packed with an assortment of items: 12 cartons of cigarettes, beverages filled with alcohol, Hennessy bottles, mobile phones, tech accessories, tobacco, over 40 ounces of a substance confirmed as marijuana, and various other contraband.

Facing a slew of charges ranging from child abuse and reckless endangerment to the introduction of narcotics into prison, Frederick had his preliminary court hearing on Monday.

However, this isn’t the first time Frederick has been entangled with the law. His rap sheet, starting from 2013, includes a dismissed firearms possession charge from 2018, 32 allegations related to forgery and identity theft, and a 2020 arrest for forging business checks. As of his most recent charge, records indicate he was on probation. Details from Monday’s hearing, presided over by Magistrate Ernest Morris Jr., remained unobtainable as of the last update.

This incident serves as a grave reminder of the risks associated with contraband in correctional facilities and the lengths some individuals go to. The involvement of family members, especially young children, amplifies concerns regarding such illegal activities and their far-reaching implications.

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Violent Encounter in St. Croix: Tenant Accused of Assaulting Maintenance Staff with Machete and Stun Gun

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A St. Croix woman, Christin Willie, faces serious legal challenges including felony assault charges after a disturbing incident involving physical attacks on maintenance staff within her apartment. The event unfolded at the David Hamilton Jackson Terrace, prompting police intervention on a Tuesday afternoon.

A senior employee of the Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA) was overseeing urgent electrical repairs in Willie’s apartment following a health inspector’s warning about significant safety risks. Despite the short notice, which deviated from the usual 48-hour rule due to the urgency, Willie initially allowed the repairs.

However, the situation escalated when Willie, citing a need to pray, attempted to shut her apartment door. The VIHA supervisor, wary of being locked out, advised against it. As another maintenance worker arrived, tensions heightened; Willie pushed the supervisor out and subsequently retrieved a machete from her living room. In a violent outburst, she swung the machete, striking him with the flat side of the blade before he could disarm her.

Undeterred, Willie then grabbed a stun gun from the same table and assaulted the supervisor multiple times. Amidst her attacks, she bit his forearm, forcefully holding on until separated by his coworker who also experienced a shock from the stun gun. The altercation ended when Willie’s minor son intervened, calming his mother and allowing the workers to exit.

Upon police arrival, officers noted Willie’s distress and detected alcohol. After refusing to give a statement, she was arrested and charged with third-degree assault, simple assault and battery, and misuse of a dangerous weapon during a violent crime.

Initially unable to post the $25,000 bail, Willie was detained pending a court hearing. The subsequent day, Magistrate Ernest Morris Jr. granted her a pretrial release, though specifics remain undisclosed. Willie is set to appear in court on May 1, with a public defender assigned to her case.

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St. Thomas Resident Receives 43-Month Sentence for Fentanyl Trafficking

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A federal court in St. Thomas has handed down a 43-month prison sentence to 43-year-old Tahir Donadelle for his role in attempting to distribute fentanyl. Chief District Judge Robert Mollow delivered the sentence this past Monday, following Donadelle’s earlier admission of guilt.

United States Attorney Delia Smith highlighted the lethal nature of the opioid crisis in America, noting that fentanyl claimed over 80,000 lives in 2021. “While the Virgin Islands have been relatively shielded from the brunt of the opioid epidemic, this incident underscores our vulnerability,” Smith stated. She commended the Customs and Border Protection officers whose alertness thwarted the potential distribution of these dangerous substances.

The charges stem from an incident on September 8, 2022, when Donadelle, arriving from Atlanta at Cyril E. King Airport, was subject to a random luggage inspection by Customs and Border Protection. The search revealed 14 vacuum-sealed packages in his bags, three of which contained 964 fentanyl pills marked with an “M” on one side and “30” on the other, while the rest held marijuana.

This case is not isolated in its severity; similar sentences have been meted out recently. In 2023, Elijah Hakim received an 85-month sentence for a related conviction. That same year, the Virgin Islands Police Department linked three deaths directly to fentanyl, underscoring its deadly presence even with relatively few cases locally.

Roberto Vaquero, Director of Field Operations for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, expressed his concerns about fentanyl’s dangers. “Fentanyl is among the most lethal drug threats to our nation. Our diligent officers are crucial to preventing this toxin from penetrating our borders and harming our communities,” he said.

The successful prosecution of Donadelle, led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Payne, was a collaborative effort involving Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Homeland Security Investigations Assistant Special Agent in Charge Eugene Thomas emphasized the community’s gain from such vigilant enforcement efforts against drug smuggling in the territory.

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St. Croix Man Arrested Following Alleged Firearm Incident and Dispute Over Relationship

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ST. CROIX — Daniel Hernandez faces serious felony charges following an incident where he allegedly fired a weapon during a confrontation that stemmed from a romantic dispute.

Late in the evening on April 13, just before 10:30 p.m., a distress call was made to 911 by a man reporting gunfire at his home in Frederiksted. He claimed that Daniel Hernandez, whom he identified as his girlfriend’s husband, arrived at his Estate Carlton residence, leading to a physical altercation. The caller reported that after he and his girlfriend retreated inside, Hernandez fired a shot through the glass door and reached in to unlock it, subsequently forcing his wife to leave with him under threat of violence.

According to the caller, Hernandez and his wife left the scene in his vehicle. The woman contacted 911 from a hotel several hours later to report her whereabouts. Upon arriving at the hotel, officers detained Hernandez without incident and discovered ammunition in his vehicle.

During the investigation, the woman provided a different perspective, indicating she was picked up by Hernandez after work, had dinner, and then went to a hotel to make a reservation. She recounted that she went to her boyfriend’s residence to avoid her husband seeing her there, but Hernandez unexpectedly showed up, leading to the altercation.

The woman expressed her intention to not remain with her boyfriend, describing ongoing harassment and assaults from him. She returned to the apartment to preempt further conflicts, which escalated when both men confronted each other.

Police found physical evidence of the shooting at the boyfriend’s home, including a bullet hole through a door. Hernandez, however, denied possessing or firing a gun. Despite his denial and lack of a gun license, the visible injuries to all parties and the forensic evidence led to his arrest on multiple charges, including home invasion, burglary, illegal possession of a firearm, assault, property destruction, and disturbing the peace.

After appearing in court before Magistrate Yolan Brow Ross, Hernandez’s initial charges were adjusted following a motion from the prosecution to amend the complaint, which was unopposed by the defense. The judge set bail at $100,000, with a portion paid in cash and the remainder secured through a bond.

Daniel Hernandez is slated to return to court on May 1 for further proceedings in this complex case.

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