In a recent development, the V.I. Department of Justice (DOJ) reported the arrest of Felipe Felix, a 62-year-old registered sex offender, for possessing a firearm without proper authorization. This apprehension took place during the annual ‘Keeping Watch’ initiative in the St. Croix District.
The ‘Keeping Watch’ operation is a unified initiative, combining the efforts of various agencies, namely the DOJ’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) Unit, the V.I. Superior Court Probation Officers, VIPD, and the U.S. Marshals Service. Their combined diligence led to the swift arrest of Felix.
Subsequent to his detention, Felix was brought before the V.I. Superior Court the following day. After reviewing the evidence, the court determined there was a probable cause to hold him in custody.
Charges against Felix include the unauthorized possession of a firearm under statute 2253 and possessing ammunition. He is currently held on a $50,000 bail. For Felix to be released, he must pay $5,000 in cash and pledge an unsecured bond amounting to $45,000.
If Felix manages to post his bail, there will be rigorous conditions attached to his release. He will be under 24-hour house arrest, equipped with electronic tracking, and supervised by a designated third-party custodian. Felix would be allowed to leave his home solely under very specific circumstances: legal appointments, liaisons with his legal counsel, emergency hospital visits, or mandatory reports to the Office of Probation. Furthermore, as an added measure, Felix will be mandated to surrender his travel passport and abstain from departing the territory.
Felix’s history underscores the severity of his crimes. Classified as a Tier III sexual offender, he was previously convicted in New York for the first-degree sexual abuse of a minor under 11 years, an incident tracing back to 1999. Presently on parole due to another felony conviction, Felix is open to unexpected inspections and searches. During one such routine scrutiny, officials found a .22 caliber Ruger long rifle along with ammunition in his domicile. Confirmations from VIPD Firearms records verified Felix’s lack of a legitimate firearm license, resulting in the immediate arrest.
The regulations of USVI are stringent, especially for registered sexual offenders. They are mandated to submit comprehensive personal details to the VIDOJ. The SORNA Unit conducts regular audits to validate the correctness of the provided information. Failure to comply carries hefty consequences, from steep financial penalties to potential incarceration. Residents and concerned individuals can consult the sex offender registry at the designated portal: https://usvi.nsopw.gov.
Highlighting the implications of such operations, V.I. Attorney General Ariel Smith commended the undying dedication of the participating departments. Their unwavering focus is on bolstering the safety and well-being of the local community.