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HomeNewsArchivesBales of Marijuana and Assault Rifles Seized in Drug Sweep

Bales of Marijuana and Assault Rifles Seized in Drug Sweep

Aug. 7, 2007 — V.I. police and other law-enforcement agencies netted a cache of weapons and eradicated marijuana stashes, fields and an indoor growing operation in a recent island-wide operation on St. Croix.
Residents wondering why they heard the sounds of low-flying helicopters over the island during the past two weeks now have an answer. Results of the operation were announced by Jerome M. Harris, special agent in charge (SAC) of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Caribbean Division, and Police Commissioner James McCall.
The joint operation was conducted by officers from the St. Croix office of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA), V.I. Police Department, FBI, ATF, V.I. Port Authority, the Puerto Rico and V.I. National Guard, and the Blue Lightning Marine Unit.
As a result of the operation, a total of 69 marijuana plots were located and eradicated, 5,751 plants destroyed, seven weapons seized and one indoor growing operation dismantled. In addition, the eradication team located a well-maintained marijuana plot at No. 45 Estate Carlton with more than 200 plants, 40 pounds of baled marijuana and six weapons, including an AK-47 assault rifle, an AR-15 assault rifle, a 30-30 level action rifle with scope and three handguns. One handgun was fitted for a silencer. Ammunition was also found, according to a news release announcing the results.
So far two people have been arrested ,and police expect there may be other arrests. Some real estate may also be seized, according to the release.
Lead agency officials expressed their satisfaction with the results of the operation, thanked citizens who reported suspicious activity to authorities and gave credit to Gov. John deJongh Jr. for his support.
"This is the type of collaborative effort that Gov. deJongh and I envisioned at the outset of his administration," McCall said. "This a tremendous effort, not only for the drugs and financial benefits denied to drug traffickers, but also for the weapons that were removed from the street."
Gene Hawk, DEA resident agent in charge, observed that V.I. soil is not conducive to a high-grade marijuana crop, and outdoor growth is relatively easy for law enforcement to detect.
"The tropical climate and the soil … will support growth of marijuana, but growers will soon probably note the quality of the marijuana is poor," Hawk said. "Marijuana plants present a certain signature that law enforcement can detect, and that signature is usually more prominent when the plants are in the ground."
McCall encouraged residents to continue providing information of suspicious activity to the HIDTA Task Force by calling (340) 692-9500. All calls are confidential and can be made anonymously.
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