May 2, 2003 – Police are crediting closed-circuit television monitoring for the arrest of three individuals on St. John in the last week on drug charges.
"This is the dawn of a new era in law enforcement in the Virgin Islands," Police Commissioner-designate Elton Lewis said Friday in a release announcing what he described as the territory's first arrests made with the assistance of the so-called CCTV cameras.
According to the release, Charleston "Lion" Charles, 37, of Estate Nazareth, St. Thomas, and Buster Brady, 43, of Coral Bay, St. John, were arrested on April 25 and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. And Ryan Meade, 27, of Estate Enighed, St. John, was arrested on Tuesday and similarly charged.
All three arrests occurred in the Cruz Bay area, the release stated.
The cameras, which have been installed on the streets in town areas throughout the territory and are monitored at police locations on each island, "are examples of the type of technological changes that are needed by the department to move this territory forward in policing," Lewis said.
Although the cameras are visible to the public, the release said the particular camera or cameras involved in the three arrests are not being identified as to location "for security reasons."
Lewis expressed appreciation for the work done in recent months to get the surveillance cameras installed. "It is an exciting moment for the department to know that we have an extremely valuable tool in our arsenal to fight crime," he said. Because "officers are now able to monitor areas and respond rapidly to quell illegal activities," he added, "they are now able to provide greater protection in many areas."
Directing comments personally to the police officers of the Criminal Investigation Unit on St. John, Lewis said: "As you watched patiently as these individuals participated in this illegal activity, it may have been taxing. However, your adeptness allowed you to overcome, conquer and capture."
According to the release, Charles was found to have in his possession 20 small plastic bags containing a white powder which field-tested positive for cocaine and a leafy substance which tested positive for marijuana. The release said Brady was found to have a large plastic bag containing 20 small bags whose contents tested positive for cocaine. And, it said, Meade was found to have a napkin containing five plastic bags whose contents tested for cocaine along with leafy matter that tested positive for marijuana.
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