Sept. 18, 2008 — Constitutional Convention Delegate and senatorial candidate Kendall Petersen of St. Croix was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on drug charges, according to a Justice Department statement.
Appearing before Magistrate Judge George Cannon, Petersen pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The delegate was charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and was released on $10,000 bond. Details of the indictment say the charges include possession with intent to distribute 84 marijuana plants and 950 grams of marijuana.
The indictment also notified Petersen that if he is convicted, the United States intends to forfeit the $2,000 that was seized with the marijuana.
Peterson's Frederiksted home was searched Aug. 27 by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force. (See "Raid On Petersen Home Nets Drug Evidence").
If convicted, Petersen could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
In a press conference following the raid, Petersen said that the raid was part of a personal vendetta carried out by acting St. Croix Police Chief Oakland Benta, and that the funds seized were campaign contributions towards his senate bid.
Petersen, released on a $10,000 unsecured bond, declined comment until he'd had an opportunity to speak with his attorney, but plans to hold a press conference Friday on St. Croix.
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