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St. Thomas Resident Sentenced to a Decade in Prison for Drug Trafficking Charges

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Prison with iron fences.Prison or jail is a building where people are forced to live if their freedom has been taken away.Prison is the building use for punishment prisoner. (Prison with iron fences.Prison or jail is a building where people are forced

A St. Thomas community member, 36-year-old Kelly Bruney, has been handed a 10-year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty to participating in a cocaine distribution conspiracy. The sentencing, delivered by Chief District Judge Robert A. Molloy, marks a pivotal moment in the fight against drug trafficking in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to United States Attorney Delia L. Smith’s announcement on Tuesday.

This conviction originates from a meticulous operation that unveiled Bruney and his co-defendant, Yefri Martinez-Herrera, agreeing to sell a substantial 200 kilograms of cocaine to an undercover federal agent. The significant breakthrough in this case came on February 3, 2022, when federal agents, armed with a search warrant, raided Bruney’s residence in the French Town area of St. Thomas. The operation led to the seizure of 87 kilograms of cocaine and a firearm, with Martinez-Herrera discovered hiding within a bedroom closet.

The successful apprehension of Bruney and Martinez-Herrera is the fruit of a concerted effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, showcasing the synergy between federal and local law enforcement agencies. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Payne spearheaded the prosecution, highlighting the unwavering resolve to purge the community of narcotics trafficking.

The conclusion of Bruney’s case in October 2023 symbolizes a critical stride forward in the collective endeavor to safeguard the U.S. Virgin Islands from the clutches of drug trafficking, emphasizing the dedication of law enforcement to uphold justice and protect the community.

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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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Six Arrests Made in St. Thomas Drug Trafficking Crackdown

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ST. THOMAS — A targeted joint operation by the Virgin Islands Police Department, alongside the Drug Enforcement Agency and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, resulted in the arrest of six men accused of drug-related crimes in the Red Hook area, a noted hub for illegal narcotics activity.

Throughout February, these coordinated efforts focused on dismantling drug trafficking networks, culminating in several key arrests:

  • N’Kel Morton, 30, was taken into custody at Red Hook Plaza on March 8, 2024, facing charges of cocaine possession with intent to distribute.
  • On March 7, 2024, Jaamal Bell, 42, was arrested at American Yacht Harbor, charged with intent to distribute narcotics.
  • Peter Francis Jr., 33, encountered the same fate at the same location, on identical charges.
  • Anwar Lockhart, 40, was arrested on March 15, 2024, on Cassi Hill for cocaine distribution.
  • Niah Henry, 35, was apprehended on March 16, 2024, at Red Hook Plaza, with charges similar to Morton’s.
  • Kenson Plasimond, 43, was arrested on March 7, 2024, at Tutu Park Mall, also charged with possession with intent to distribute.

These arrests signify a continued commitment by local and federal law enforcement to curb the flow of illegal drugs in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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