Four men – three from the British Virgin Islands and one from Florida – faced court action on St. Thomas Wednesday in separate cases involving charges ranging from cocaine to cash smuggling, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert reported.
Ashley Warner, 54, of Tortola, was sentenced Wednesday by District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez, to 10 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release after he was convicted of conspiracy and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, Shappert said.
According to court documents, Warner was stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Cyril E. King airport after it was discovered that Warner was attempting to smuggle 10 kilograms of cocaine through the airport to the U.S. mainland in coolers. The white powdery substance discovered inside the coolers tested positive for cocaine and weighed approximately 10 kilograms.
The case was investigated by the Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sigrid M. Tejo-Sprotte.
Akil Erickson, Mikiel Robin
A federal grand jury on St. Thomas returned separate indictments against Mikiel Robin, 21, of the British Virgin Islands, and Akil Erickson, 25, of Florida, on charges of bulk cash smuggling and false statements, Shappert said.
The indictment against Robin alleges that he entered the United States from Tortola and failed to declare that he was carrying approximately $38,000 in his travel bag. The indictment against Erickson alleges that during the same period he too entered the United States from Tortola with approximately $50,000 in United States currency and falsely claimed that he was not traveling with said currency.
Under federal law, both men face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
A federal grand jury on Wednesday returned an indictment against Shane C. Freeman, 32, of the British Virgin Islands, charging him with importing cocaine into the United States with intent to distribute.
Shappert said the indictment against Freeman alleges that on Oct. 9 he entered the United States from Tortola by ferry boat with approximately five kilos of cocaine. Customs and Border protection discovered the cocaine while doing a routine inspection of the vessel.
Under federal law, Freeman faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum $10 million fine.
The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard E. Potter.