Teshawn Adams, a Virgin Islands police officer held in federal custody on drug-smuggling charges in Florida is a flight risk and will remain in custody, U.S. Magistrate Edwin Torres ruled on Jan. 27.
Adams and Shakim Mike – also a U.S. Virgin Islands police officer and member of the Virgin Islands National Guard – were arrested in Miami after arriving by private jet on Jan. 12 at the Opa Locka Executive Airport with two other people and luggage in tow from St. Thomas. As the luggage was processed through an X-ray scanner, inspectors noticed the luggage contained several wrapped bricks that later tested positive for the presence of cocaine.
More than 300 kilograms of cocaine were confiscated at the time Adams was arrested. Court documents say Mike fled the airport as the inspection was taking place but was apprehended on Jan. 13 with fellow travelers Royston David and Maleek Leanard, along with two Florida men – Anthon Berkeley and Tevon Adams, the officer’s twin brother.
In the detention order issued by Torres on Jan. 27, the judge said Teshawn Adams had no ties to the South Florida community where he was arrested, and that the only family member he had in the area – brother Tevon – was in federal custody, charged as part of the alleged drug smuggling scheme.
“Having considered the factors enumerated in 18 U.S.C., Sec 3142(c), the court finds that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community and the appearance of the defendant as required. Therefore, it is hereby ordered that defendant be detained prior to trial and until the conclusion thereof,” Torres said. “We find, based on clear and convincing evidence, that the defendant would pose a serious flight risk and a danger to the community, based on the nature of the charges and his lack of ties to the South Florida community.”
The judge ordered that Officer Adams – a part-time employee of the Virgin Islands Police Department – be held apart from other individuals awaiting sentencing, serving sentences or being kept in custody pending appeal. Magistrate John O’Sullivan issued a similar order on Jan. 15 for Mike and Leanard, citing the risk of flight from prosecution.
By Jan. 22 and Jan. 24, respectively, lawyers for Mike and Leanard sought to have their detention orders repealed. Assistant Federal Public Defender Lauren Krasnoff cited the Bail Reform Act on behalf of Mike. She told the court in her motion it was up to the court to prove by clear and convincing evidence that her client was dangerous and/or a flight risk.
In his motion to reclaim pre-trial freedom, Leanard told the court he did not know there was cocaine in the bags that were loaded onto the private plane from St. Thomas he boarded along with Adams, Mike and David.
Prosecutors told the Miami court the estimated value of the drugs discovered in the luggage was $5 million.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations Division and Customs and Border Protection agents are credited by the Justice Department for conducting investigations leading to the arrests. They were assisted by the Miami-Dade Police Department, according to a statement from Justice.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Yeney Hernandez was named as the prosecutor.