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U.S. Virgin Islands Alert: Megan Smith Goes Missing; Authorities Request Community Aid

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ST. CROIX — In a concerning development, the V.I. Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, in tandem with their Forensic/Identification Unit, is seeking public help in locating 38-year-old Megan Smith. Smith, also recognized by some as Sarah, became the subject of an official missing person alert on August 20.

Megan, a native of Monmouth, Illinois, born on November 4, 1984, is a Caucasian woman with defining features. She has a height of 5’4”, weighs approximately 105 pounds, and sports blonde locks with striking blue eyes. Adding to her identifiable features are distinct tattoos. One, a unique fusion of a butterfly bearing brass knuckles on its wings, graces her back. Moreover, a constellation of stars decorates her left shoulder. Her skin carries a light tone.

Smith’s most recent known movements suggest she frequented locales like Jah Yard in St. Thomas and Union Mt. Washington in St. Croix. Records show that she departed from St. Croix around July 2023, setting course for St. Thomas. She had plans to circle back to St. Croix by August 2, 2023. However, the unsettling truth is that since then, no one has reported seeing or hearing from her.

A Disturbing Silence

Compounding the unease surrounding her disappearance, Smith’s family relayed an eerie incident. On August 9, 2023, they received a cryptic text message from Megan’s phone. The message contained no words—just an empty space. What’s more disconcerting is that, following that unexplained message, all communication ceased. To this date, her family remains in the dark regarding her clothing attire during her last appearance.

The VIPD, recognizing the gravity of the situation, pleads with the community for any shred of information. They believe that every bit can potentially guide them closer to Megan. Should anyone possess knowledge about Megan Smith’s current location or recent activities, they’re encouraged to reach out directly at 340-773-2530. Those preferring discretion can opt to relay their information anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or simply dial 911.

In wrapping up this news, the importance of collective community action cannot be overstated. Each set of eyes and ears amplifies the chances of reuniting Megan Smith with her anxious family.

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Crime

Wahilli James Sentenced for Role in RICO Enterprise Led by Incarcerated Paul Girard

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In a significant development, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Virgin Islands announced the sentencing of Wahilli James, aged 28, to a six-year prison term for his involvement in a criminal enterprise under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), masterminded by Paul Girard from his prison cell.

U.S. Attorney Delia Smith, who made the announcement, detailed James’s admission of guilt in two high-stakes armed robberies. These crimes occurred in St. Thomas and St. Croix, orchestrated as part of the Girard-led RICO enterprise.

Court records revealed a chilling account of the first incident on September 16, 2013. James, alongside accomplices, targeted Gems and Gold Corner Jewelry in St Thomas. The group executed a harrowing heist, with an assailant threatening the owner at gunpoint while James and the others looted a significant cache of jewelry.

The second incident, on November 21, 2013, saw James and his cohorts striking “They Say Bar” in St. Croix. Disguised with face masks and armed, they conducted the robbery. Tragically, during this event, the bar’s owner suffered a gunshot wound to the head from one of the robbers while attempting to thwart their entry.

Judge Savage, acknowledging James’s time already served, adjusted his 72-month sentence accordingly. Additionally, James is mandated to compensate $161,350.00 in restitution.

This case, a result of diligent efforts by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Virgin Islands Police Department, was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith Edwards, along with Criminal Division Trial Attorneys Christopher Taylor of the Violent Crime and Racketeering Section and Marie Zisa of the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section.

The successful resolution of this case is part of the broader strategy of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) initiative. This program aims to neutralize high-level criminal threats including drug trafficking, money laundering, and other transnational criminal activities by employing a comprehensive, multi-agency, intelligence-driven approach. The OCDETF program unifies the efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement to combat these sophisticated criminal networks.

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Crime

VIPD Apprehends Two Suspects Following Vehicle Chase and Shooting; Search for Third Suspect Underway

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ST. THOMAS – In a swift response to a 911 alert, VIPD officers engaged in a high-speed chase on Thursday afternoon in St. Thomas, following a report of a vehicle being driven recklessly by three masked individuals.

Beginning around 3:04 p.m. near Judy Gomez Highway in the Altona & Welgunst vicinity, the pursuit involved a vehicle reported as stolen. VIPD quickly mobilized after receiving a call about the vehicle’s hazardous driving.

The chase progressed to the Mafolie region, where the suspects, attempting to escape, drove the stolen car through a police checkpoint, resulting in damage to two vehicles, the VIPD informed the Consortium.

The situation intensified near Louisenhoj Castle, where shots were fired at the officers in pursuit, as confirmed by Glen Dratte, the VIPD Director of Communications. Subsequently, a male with a gunshot wound, identified as one of the suspects, was found in a nearby yard. He was apprehended by VIPD and received medical attention at Schneider Regional Medical Center.

The incident also led to the capture of a second suspect, who was likewise hospitalized for treatment. VIPD is actively searching for the third suspect, believed to be in the Hull Bay area.

The police have described the ongoing situation as dynamic and continue to work diligently. They are encouraging residents to stay alert and report any unusual activities in their neighborhoods to 911.

Updates on this evolving situation will be provided as they become available, ensuring the community stays informed.

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Crime

Passenger Detained for Marijuana Possession at Henry E. Rohlsen Airport

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In a recent incident at St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, Rayjon Ali faces serious legal consequences for attempting to transport marijuana. This case unfolded on the evening of December 3, when Ali, arriving on a Spirit Airlines flight from Philadelphia with a stopover in Fort Lauderdale, was apprehended by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers.

The detection of the drugs was aided by narcotics-sniffing dogs, which signaled the presence of a controlled substance in a hardshell suitcase tagged to Ali. Upon inspection in a secondary area by CBP officers, Ali’s suitcase was found to contain $3,310 in U.S. currency and three bags of a green leafy substance. This substance later tested positive for marijuana, weighing in at 957 grams.

Ali, during a preliminary interview with a Department of Homeland Security Special Agent, admitted his awareness of the wrongdoing but claimed his motive was to earn money quickly. Despite this initial admission, he refrained from giving an official statement. Consequently, he was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

The subsequent legal proceedings, including Ali’s advice of rights hearing, were presided over by Magistrate Yolan Brow Ross. During this hearing, a bail with a cash component of $750 was set. Further details of the hearing and the case are pending public release.

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