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San Francisco to St. Thomas Flight Ends in Arrest for Man Carrying Marijuana in Luggage

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ST. THOMAS – A traveler, reportedly in possession of a sizable amount of marijuana, was taken into custody at the Cyril E. King Airport this past weekend.

Per the official court filings, authorities were alerted to the scene at the airport on Saturday evening by the vigilant team of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). A standard canine sweep had marked out a distinctive lavender, verging on light blue, suitcase which was suspected to house illegal substances.

D’Jon Heyliger, as identified in the court’s records, approached the outdoor baggage carousel and retrieved the aforementioned suitcase. As he made his way out of the baggage claim area, CBP officers intercepted him. When questioned, Heyliger conceded that the suitcase was his. A thorough search by customs officials revealed four tightly vacuum-sealed packages. These bags contained a total of 28.28 pounds of a substance with a green, leafy appearance, which was later confirmed through tests to be marijuana.

After the discovery, Heyliger was held at the airport while waiting for local law enforcement officers. The subsequent probe into the matter unveiled some intriguing details about Heyliger’s recent travel patterns. Just two days prior, the native of Orlando, Florida had embarked on a journey from his residence to San Francisco, California. His next leg was a flight from San Francisco to St. Thomas, which included a stopover in Washington, D.C. Intriguingly, the contentious luggage was registered and transported on the United Airlines segment from San Francisco.

The charges set against Heyliger were severe: possession of marijuana with an intention to distribute it. Following his arrest, he was kept in detention and awaited his advice of rights hearing, scheduled for August 21.

When Monday’s court session convened, Magistrate Simone VanHolten-Turnbull penned an order for the pre-trial release of Heyliger. Integral to this release order was a cash bail set at $3,000. As for the specific stipulations and conditions tied to his release, the court’s digital public portal remains devoid of these details as of the last update.

For residents and travelers alike, this incident serves as a stark reminder of the stringent drug laws in place and the watchful eyes of our airport security personnel, ever vigilant to keep illicit substances from crossing our borders.

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Crime

Daring Nighttime Maritime Operation Foiled by CBP Agents

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In a bold effort thwarted by vigilant Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, a man now faces charges in the Virgin Islands District Court following a thwarted human smuggling operation from Tortola to St. John.

The drama unfolded on the night of February 23, near the serene Leinster Bay in St. John. CBP Marine Interdiction Agents, during their coastal patrol, detected an unlit boat making its secretive journey from the shores of Tortola. Employing night vision technology, the agents meticulously tracked the vessel as it stealthily crossed international waters, arriving in the tranquil vicinity of Leinster Bay, near the historic Annaberg ruins, under the cloak of darkness.

The boat’s attempt to slip back to Tortola was abruptly halted when the agents, revealing their presence with activated lights and sirens, demanded the vessel to stop. Lorenzo Charles, the captain hailing from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, was apprehended, and the boat was seized and towed to St. Thomas.

The capture revealed Charles and five passengers aboard: three individuals from India, including a minor, an Argentinian, and a Dominican Republic national. It was determined that none were U.S. citizens, having entered the country without authorization.

Charles promptly acknowledged his wrongdoing upon interrogation, confessing to a Homeland Security Investigations special agent about the illicit nature of his actions. He disclosed a desperate attempt to settle a $4000 debt by performing the smuggling operation, arranged after a mysterious lender demanded repayment.

According to Charles, the operation was meticulously planned, with the embarkation from Tortola’s West End under the guidance of his creditor, who loaded the five passengers onto his vessel. Despite lacking GPS equipment, Charles was confident in his navigational skills, having observed St. John from Tortola. He admitted to previously smuggling individuals into the U.S. and hoped this operation would extinguish his remaining debt.

The passengers shared a different story, claiming payment to another for their transport from Tortola to St. John, highlighting the complex web of human smuggling operations.

A detention hearing for Charles is scheduled with U.S. Magistrate Ruth Miller. Prosecutors advocate for his detention, citing a significant flight risk, though they remain open to conditional pre-trial release given the identification of a reliable third-party custodian.

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Crime

Law Enforcement Swiftly Captures Suspect in Christiansted Robbery Spree

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Following a series of robbery incidents in Christiansted on February 20, the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) demonstrated remarkable efficiency by arresting 28-year-old Koi Thomas. The alarming events, reported to the emergency services in close succession at approximately 10:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., prompted a swift and thorough response from the VIPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau detectives.

Eyewitness accounts from the victims were crucial in the investigation, enabling law enforcement to quickly gather surveillance footage pinpointing Thomas as the perpetrator. In a fortunate turn of events, Thomas had been apprehended earlier the same day on unrelated larceny charges in the Gallows Bay area, and was already under detention at the John Bell Correctional Facility.

Detectives visited the correctional facility on February 22, where they officially charged Thomas with two counts of third-degree robbery. Subsequently, Thomas was processed at the Wilbur H. Francis Command Police Station, with his bail determined at $25,000.

Despite Thomas’s court hearing being scheduled for the following Friday, information pertaining to his legal proceedings had yet to be disclosed publicly by Sunday. This arrest underscores the vigilance and dedication of the Virgin Islands law enforcement in maintaining public safety and swiftly addressing criminal activities.

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Crime

Tragic Shooting in St. Thomas Leaves Young Man Dead

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A tragic incident unfolded in the Bovoni Housing Community of St. Thomas late on Thursday night, claiming the life of a young resident. Omar K. Fontaine, a 20-year-old local, fell victim to a lethal shooting, succumbing to multiple gunshot wounds.

The incident was detected by the ShotSpotter Detection System, which notified the V.I. Police Department of the gunfire at precisely 11:11 p.m. Officers from the Mariel C. Newton Command swiftly responded to the alert and discovered Fontaine unresponsive. Despite the prompt arrival of emergency medical technicians, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fontaine’s untimely death has sparked a thorough investigation by the Major Crimes Unit of the VIPD, which is determined to bring those responsible to justice. The police are appealing to the community for assistance, encouraging anyone with information to step forward. Contributions can be made directly to the Major Crimes Unit at 340-642-8449, through a call to 911, or by submitting tips anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8476 or online through their tip form.

This devastating event underscores the urgent need for community cooperation and vigilance in combating violence and safeguarding our neighborhoods.

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