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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 14, 2024


A federal grand jury on St. Thomas has handed up nine indictments charging 10 people with possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school, a violation of federal narcotics law, and charging one person with possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
The defendants were arrested on St. Thomas and St. John during a federal anti-drug initiative conducted over the long Emancipation Day/Independence Day weekend.
The arrests, carried out by agents of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force, came after the suspects allegedly tried to sell drugs to undercover agents of the federal Drug EnforcementAgency.
The indictments were returned Thursday, July 13, according to information released Monday by U.S. Attorney James A. Hurd Jr.
Charged with selling crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of Ivanna Eudora Kean High School at St. Thomas's East End were Monroe Forbes, 37; Gary Gonzalez, 31; George Penn, 35; Leon Stridiron, 35; Albert Subin, 52; and Liston Todman, 35. Gonzalez and Subin are also charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school.
On St. John, Mariano Amaro, 30; Myron Callwood, 27; Ashana Powell, 23; and Michael Powell, 35, were charged with selling cocaine and/or crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of Julius E. Sprauve School. Amaro and Ashana Powell were also charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school.
In connection with a separate incident on St. Thomas, Travis Greenaway, 20, was indicted for possession with intent to distribute cocaine as a result of his allegedly selling a quantity of the substance to a Drug Enforcement Agency undercover agent.
DEA agents reportedly purchased up to $150 worth of illegal drugs in each instance. Although the amount was small, under the federal charges, DEA resident agent-in-charge Richard Holmes earlier told the Source, "Even if there's a first offense, they're looking at some time."
According to FBI special agent John Groeschner, the anti-drug initiative was in response to illegal drug transactions brazenly taking place in the open near the schools.
Residents have long complained about open drug trafficking in both Cruz Bay and Red Hook.
Police Chief Jose Garcia said at the time of the most recent arrests, "Rich Holmes approached us, and we had a discussion about some joint operations. We're all concerned about the little drug problems we've been having." Garcia said disrupting the activities of the street dealers was intended as a deterrent to the higher-level suppliers.
The 11 defendants are scheduled for arraignment Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Geoffrey Barnard.
The HIDTA task force is made up of agents of the DEA, V.I. Police Department, FBI, U.S. Customs Service, V.I. Housing Authority Police, U.S. Justice Department and U.S. Coast Guard.

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