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Police Make 12 Arrests on St. Croix

Oct. 22, 2004 – Marijuana plants, guns, knives, cocaine and crack were just part of the booty police recovered in a week-long sting operation on St. Croix. Twelve suspects are behind bars. A similar sting operation was held last week on St. Thomas, which netted the same type of illegal contraband. "I am very serious about going after these hoodlums and thugs, " Elton Lewis, police commissioner, said Friday.
As part of an ongoing initiative to suppress the growing incidences of violent crime in the territory, the V.I. Police Department Street Enforcement Team (SET) has partnered with the St. Thomas Special Operations Bureau, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other local and federal law enforcement officials. (See St. Thomas Source story "Anti-Crime Task Force Claims Significant First Week").
On Friday police brass held a press conference to display the fruits of their labor.
In a building adjacent to the Patrick Sweeney Headquarters in Golden Grove, two long tables were piled high with 1,678 grams of marijuana – some uprooted trees, some cured, some freshly harvested. Also on display were 30 pieces of crack cocaine and three "decks" of powder cocaine. Weapons seized included a Tech-9, a 9 mm Smith & Wesson, a .22-caliber revolver, a Colt .38-caliber, a .357-caliber Magnum, a 20-gauge shotgun, 35 knives and one sword. Two bulletproof vests and a black ski mask were also recovered.
Novell Francis, territorial chief, said the task force concentrated on "high crime" areas, including housing communities and downtown, conducting traffic stops and raids. Police declined to put a street value on the amount of the confiscated drugs until AFT officers could make an assessment. The weapons will be turned over to AFT officers to see if they were used in any other crimes.
Arrested on various weapon and drug charges were: Douglas Willock, 26, of 33 Tipperary; Elmand Carty, 18, of 123 Harvey Project; Watson Rawle, 33, of 121 Peter's Rest; Andrews Joseph Jr., 46, of Christiansted; Omari Gorden, 20, of Building 26, Apartment B, Lorraine Village; Christopher Alfred, 28, of Building 8, Apartment 101, Walter I. M. Hodge; Randal Boodoosing, 24, of 105K Herman Hill; Lavar Pockson, 20, of Building 30, Apartment 174, Ralph de Chabert; and Cheshey Mill, 38, of 158 Old Castle Coakley.
Two female minors who had run away from the Crisis Center and one minor male who had escaped from the Youth Rehabilitation Center were arrested and returned to the youth facilities.
Lewis said information that led to the some of the seizures came from the community and "observations from police officers." Herminio Velasquez, deputy police chief, said the arrests would continue on a regular basis. He urged the community to continue to assist the police in crime prevention.
"We are not going to say where and when we are going to strike," said Lewis. He added, "It's a small segment of the population who are creating havoc in the community." Lewis said he "is tired" of the high incidences of crime occurring in the Virgin Islands. He wants criminals to "get the message" that the department is doing all they can and will continue to aggressively pursue street-level crime.
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