In a series of raids Thursday, St. Thomas police seized several high-powered assault rifles, extended magazines and ammunition in an operation dubbed "Operation Cease Fire."
Members of the department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit executed several search and arrest warrants, apprehending three suspects. Police say more arrests are imminent. The operation targeted individuals that intelligence reports indicate were involved in the illegal discharge of ammunition.
Arrested were Elroy Faulkner of Estate Anna’s Retreat, 20; Shakieme Freeman of Bovoni housing community, 18; and 22-year-old Vincent Thompson of Water Bay Condos. The three were allegedly involved in a Jan. 12 incident near Bovoni Housing Community during which the suspects opened fire on several individuals and eluded officers in a chase.
The gunfire severely damaged several cars. Police say the suspects were positively identified as the shooters. The three were arrested and charged with third-degree assault, use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence, reckless endangerment, destruction of property, and aiding and abetting.
Search warrants yielded several high-powered assault weapons and a large amount of ammunition.
A .40-caliber handgun was recovered in Faulkner’s residence. Police say charges for possession of an unlicensed firearm are pending.
Another search warrant was executed at an Estate Thomas residence based on reports by citizens who told police that on New Year’s Day a man was seen hiding high-powered weapons on the property after firing a large volley of shots.
At that residence, police confiscated an AK-47 assault rifle, an AR-15 assault rifle, as well as a ski mask, extended magazines and ammunition. Charges are pending in that case, police said. The statement issued by the department Thursday night did not name the suspect.
Police say additional warrants are pending.
Police Commissioner Novelle E. Francis Jr. and Assistant Commissioner Raymond L. Hyndman issued a joint statement following the arrests and weapons confiscations.
“We are determined to rid the community of the dangerous weapons presently in the hands of criminals who have no regard for the security and safety of our residents and visitors, the statement said. “These weapons are being used recklessly and dangerously to commit murders and other crimes in a vicious and callous manner. We must, and we will, continue to use all available resources to stem the proliferation of these instruments of destruction.”