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Serious Child Exploitation Charges Leveled Against Senior St. Croix Resident

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Authorities have announced serious charges against Juan Bermudez, 65, a St. Croix inhabitant, in a significant development stemming from concerted efforts to combat child exploitation. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Delia L. Smith, who detailed the charges including sexual exploitation of a child, coercion and enticement, second-degree aggravated rape, and second-degree unlawful sexual contact.

The legal consequences facing Bermudez are profound, with penalties ranging from mandatory minimum sentences of 10 to 15 years to potential life imprisonment, pending the outcome of a federal district court judge’s decision. This judge will take into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and various statutory factors in determining the final sentence.

This case emerged from a collaborative investigation between Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Virgin Islands Police Department, underlining the commitment of law enforcement agencies to safeguard children from harm. The prosecution team, led by Assistant United States Attorneys Rhonda Williams-Henry and Everard Potter, is at the forefront of this pivotal case.

Eugene Thomas, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations, reaffirmed the agency’s dedication to child protection. “Our resolve to protect the vulnerable remains steadfast, and we will continue our collaborative efforts with the Virgin Islands Police Department to address and curb the sexual abuse of children,” he declared.

In conjunction with announcing the charges, United States Attorney Delia L. Smith highlighted the importance of recognizing the presumption of innocence that underpins the American justice system. It’s crucial to remember that an indictment serves as an allegation, not proof of guilt, and all individuals, Bermudez included, are entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Crime

Violent Robbery at Starz Hotel in St. Thomas Leaves Man Injured

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A violent encounter unfolded at Starz Hotel in the Contant area of St. Thomas, where an armed robbery took place in the early hours of Saturday. Local authorities were summoned to the location around 2:48 a.m. on April 13, following reports of the distressing event.

The V.I. Police Department reported that upon arrival, they learned from the victim that two assailants, described as black males, had exited a vehicle and confronted him. The robbers, armed and aggressive, knocked the man to the ground and struck his head with a gun. They proceeded to steal his chain, rummage through his pockets, and take his wallet before escaping in an SUV heading east.

Emergency responders transported the victim to Schneider Regional Medical Center. He received treatment for multiple injuries, which included a head contusion, chest bruising, lacerations inside his mouth, and damage to his left palm.

The VIPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau is actively pursuing leads in this case. They urge anyone with information related to this crime to contact them at 340-774-2211 ext. 5574, dial 911 for immediate assistance, or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers V.I.

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Crime

Former Deputy Park Superintendent of St. Croix Sentenced for Property Conversion and Fraud

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ST. CROIX, VI – Gregory Camacho, 43, previously Deputy Park Superintendent for the National Park Service in St. Croix, received a sentence of nine months of home detention and four years of probation for unlawfully converting property, according to U.S. Attorney for the USVI, Delia L. Smith. The sentencing was handed down by District Judge Wilma A. Lewis on Thursday.

In addition to home detention and probation, Judge Lewis imposed a $6,000 fine and a special assessment of $75 on Camacho. He was also ordered to pay restitution amounting to $29,502.20 to the National Park Service.

According to court filings, Camacho, during his tenure as acting park superintendent from June 2019 to August 2020, occupied two housing units owned by the National Park Service without fulfilling rental payments, causing a loss of $14,192.10. In another instance in July 2019, Camacho deceitfully claimed relocation expenses for his family’s move from Titusville, FL, to St. Croix, even though he moved alone. This action led to unjust reimbursements totaling $13,387.50.

Furthermore, between October 2018 and September 2019, Camacho was found to have submitted overlapping travel vouchers for the same trips from his primary duty station, resulting in an additional $1,922.50 in improper gains.

These findings were brought to light through an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of the Interior, with the case prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel H. Huston.

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Crime

Daylight Assault in St. Thomas Leaves Man Injured

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A distressing incident unfolded on St. Thomas when a man suffered injuries in a daylight assault in Simmonds Alley, according to a statement from the V.I. Police Department. The attack occurred on Wednesday around 12:15 p.m.

Authorities were alerted to the situation when the 911 Emergency Call Center received a call about a man found bleeding from the neck near the Jala Jala establishment on Kronprindsens Gade. Responding officers discovered the victim with a severe laceration on the left side of his neck, believed to be the result of the assault.

Despite the seriousness of his injuries, the victim refrained from providing a statement to law enforcement at the scene. He was quickly transported to Schneider Regional Medical Center for medical attention.

The VIPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau has taken charge of the investigation and is urging the public to assist by providing any relevant information. Individuals can contact the CIB at (340) 774-2211 or call 911. For those preferring to stay anonymous, tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers USVI by calling 1-800-222-8477 or online.

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