Acio Richards, 26, and N’kel Morton, 22, both of St. Thomas, made their initial appearance in court Thursday on separate criminal complaints charging each with possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
After a detention hearing in front of before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller on Friday, Morton was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending further proceedings, while Richards was released to a third-party custodian on a $10,000 unsecured bond, and was placed on home detention with electronic monitoring.
According to the complaints, on Nov. 16 both Richards and Morton separately traded cocaine in exchange for a firearm with an undercover special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.
The case is being investigated by the ATF. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith Edwards.