Somalie Bruce, age 35, and Jeanorah Williams, age 26, both of St. Croix, were arrested on Monday and charged with firearms trafficking and several other firearms violations alleging that from 2016 through 2020 they caused more than 100 illegal firearms to be assembled and sold in the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. Attorney Gretchen Shappert announced.
Among the other charges facing the two are shipping, transporting and receiving firearms with intent to commit a felony and local territorial charges for unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Bruce was also charged in separate counts with the distribution of at least 500 grams of cocaine under federal law and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number under federal and territorial law, Shappert said. The indictment was unsealed Monday.
According to the indictment filed in the case, beginning in 2016 and continuing through 2020, Bruce and Williams engaged in an unlicensed firearm trafficking business with others known and unknown to the grand jury.
The indictment alleges Bruce and Williams ordered gun parts and accessories from various companies in North Carolina and Florida and had the items delivered to their respective post office boxes on St. Croix. Williams and Bruce purchased money orders totaling over $60,000 from the United States Post Office to pay for the firearm parts.
Bruce then built pistols and rifles with the parts and sold them to other people knowing, or having a reasonable cause to believe, that these individuals would not register the firearms, as required by law, with the Virgin Islands Police Department, an offense punishable by a minimum of 10 years in prison, Shappert said in the news release.
On Dec. 8, 2020, Bruce and Williams were apprehended with multiple firearms and ammunition in their possession. In addition, Bruce possessed a Glock firearm with an obliterated serial number in violation of federal and territorial law, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
They are set to appear in court before Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller at 10 a.m. Wednesday for a detention hearing for Bruce. Bail was set for Williams in the amount of $20,000.
This case is being investigated by the Homeland Security Investigations, United States Postal Inspection Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, Virgin Islands Police Department and Virgin Islands Port Authority. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alessandra P. Serano and Juan Albino.
According to Shappert, the case is part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative and Homeland Security Investigations-Arms and Strategic Technology Proliferation Program. More information on the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods and the Homeland Security Investigations-Arms and Strategic Technology Proliferation Initiative, are online.