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HomeNewsLocal newsSt. Thomas Man Sentenced On Fentanyl Possession Conviction

St. Thomas Man Sentenced On Fentanyl Possession Conviction

Two milligrams, the amount on the tip of this pencil, can be enough fentanyl to kill an average American. (Photo courtesy the DEA website)

A St. Thomas man, Tahir Donadelle, 43, was sentenced by Chief District Judge Robert Molloy to 43 months in prison after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, U. S. Attorney Delia L. Smith announced Monday.

According to court documents, Donadelle traveled from Atlanta, Ga., to St. Thomas, Sept. 8, 2022, and was randomly selected by Customs and Border Protection for a baggage inspection upon arrival at the Cyril E. King Airport. During the inspection, officers discovered 14 vacuum-sealed packages inside Donadelle’s luggage, 11 of which contained marijuana. The remaining three packages contained 964 light blue fentanyl pills bearing “M” on one side and “30” on the other side.

“Across the United States, opioids, primarily fentanyl, killed over 80,000 people in 2021 alone,” stated Smith. “Here in the Virgin Islands, we have thus far been spared the worst of the opioid epidemic, but this seizure of fentanyl by CBP officers shows that we are not immune.”

“Fentanyl is one of the deadliest drug threats that our nation has ever encountered. Our exceptional frontline officers work tirelessly to ensure this poison doesn’t make it through our borders and into our communities,” said Roberto Vaquero, director of field operations for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

“Fortunately, the vigilance and dedication of our law enforcement partners led to the interception of these deadly drugs, and we were able to convict those responsible. We will continue to do everything in our power to keep the Virgin Islands safe from this lethal scourge,” Smith said.

According to the release, the Virgin Islands had its first fentanyl conviction in 2023 when Elijah Hakim was sentenced to 85 months in prison after a federal jury found him guilty of two fentanyl related charges. Also in 2023, the V.I. Police Department reported three deaths related to fentanyl. The deadly narcotic has caused an epidemic in the United States, but documented cases in the Virgin Islands remain low.

Homeland Security Investigations Assistant Special Agent in Charge Eugene Thomas reiterated that the “Virgin Islands community benefits when we arrest and prosecute those that attempt to smuggle these dangerous drugs into our territory.”

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