Alva Nicholas, 57, pleaded guilty Tuesday in District Court on St. Thomas to one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
According to court records, Nicholas was arrested Aug. 21 by agents of the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, at the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas after his arrival on an American Airlines flight.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspectors screening bags arriving at the airport detected an anomaly inside a suitcase bearing Nicholas’ name and flight tag. According to Sharpe, agents found 3.4 kilograms of marijuana wrapped in plastic inside Nicholas’ suitcase. The bag was repackaged and placed on the conveyor belt. Nicholas was taken into custody after he collected the suitcase from the conveyor belt.
Nicholas had previously been sentenced to 10 years in prison on a conviction of heroin smuggling, Sharpe said.
Nicholas faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of not more than $250,000. His sentencing is scheduled for March 10.
The case is the result of a joint investigation by HSI and CBP and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith.