Local USVI News

Man Arrested on Firearm and Ammunition Charges After Being Stopped For Running Red Traffic Light

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ST. CROIX — A man has been arrested and charged on gun-related offenses after police say he failed to stop at a red traffic light.

Karmal Michael was recently arrested on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm in a vehicle and possession of ammunition.

The arrest follows a report by a police officer who stated that on September 25, while waiting at the stoplight in the vicinity of the Industrial Park, he observed a gray, 4-door Acura RDX failing to stop at a visible red traffic light. The officer then activated his blue and white lights and initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle in the parking lot of the Mahogany Lounge establishment.

Contact was made with the driver of the vehicle who was later identified as Michael.

According to the probable cause fact sheet, Michael was asked to provide his driver’s license, proof of insurance and proof of registration. The suspect handed the officer an empty folder with a folded paper. The officer said he repeated to Michael to provide his vehicle documents, at which point Michael handed him his driver’s license and said that the other documents were in his other vehicle. While speaking to Michael, the officer noticed a clear plastic bag containing a green leafy substance located in the side door compartment and noticed a strong scent of marijuana emanating from within the vehicle. He was asked whether he had any more marijuana in the car. The officer stated that Michael said he only had a little bit and that he did not want the officer to take it.

According to the probable cause fact sheet, the officer further stated that Michael reached into the center console and took out a brown wooden box and showed it to the officer. The box was empty. He then asked Michael to step out of the vehicle, at which point Michael started reaching into the center console again. The officer instructed Michael again to step out of the vehicle so he could conduct a search for any more drugs. He said Michael then placed his foot back into the car and started fumbling with his keys in the ignition, holding onto the gear shift. Again, for the third time, Michael was instructed to step out the vehicle and he finally did.

Michael was then patted down by police for any hard objects or weapons. The officer also conducted a search of the vehicle and discovered a black firearm in the center console. The officer asked Michael if he had a license to carry a firearm in the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Michael responded that he did not but his cousin did.

Michael was transported to the Wilbur H. Francis Command police station where a check was made with the Virgin Islands Police Department Firearms Bureau. It revealed that Michael was not authorized to carry or possess a firearm or ammunition in the USVI.

Forensics retrieved the firearm and processed the vehicle. There were 15 live rounds in the magazine.

In court on Monday, a judge ruled that Michael would be released upon posting of an unsecured bond for $50,000. He is to surrender his passport and is barred from leaving St. Croix without written authorization from the court. Michael must report to the Office of Probation every Tuesday. He is to have no contact, directly or indirectly with the victim or any witnesses in this matter.

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