District Judge Curtis Gomez on Wednesday sentenced former Government House Security Officer Neal Chesterfield, 41, to 70 months incarceration for his conviction of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, U.S. Attorney Gretchen Shappert announced.
Gomez also sentenced Chesterfield to five years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment.
According to the plea agreement filed with the court on Dec. 1, 2016, Chesterfield was a member of a large-scale drug trafficking organization from 2011 through 2016. In 2011, Chesterfield, a security officer at the Office of the Governor, was recruited by a co-conspirator who convinced him to use his law enforcement credentials to bypass security screening at Cyril E. King Airport to smuggling large kilogram quantities of cocaine from St. Thomas to Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Once in Florida, Chesterfield delivered the cocaine to a co-conspirator for distribution in the continental United States at $33,000 per kilogram.
During the course of the conspiracy, Chesterfield used his security clearance to smuggle more than 200 kilograms of cocaine for the drug trafficking organization. The smuggling operation was dismantled on Sept. 3, 2016, after a co-conspirator contacted a CBP agent and reported that Chesterfield was traveling on that day with cocaine and had to be stopped. Within one hour of receiving the tip, CBP agents seized 22 kilograms of cocaine from Chesterfield’s carry-on suitcase.
In May, Chesterfield testified for the prosecution in the trial of Gerard Mercer, who was convicted of smuggling cocaine. Testimony during the trial painted Mercer as the man who recruited and organized the smuggling operation. Mercer, a marine interdiction officer for the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Delia Smith.