Neal A. Chesterfield, an officer on the security detail of Gov. Kenneth Mapp, pleaded guilty Thursday before District Judge Curtis V. Gomez to possession with intent to distribute approximately 21.5 kilograms of cocaine, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
Sentencing for Chesterfield, a 39-year-old from St. Thomas, is scheduled for April 6.
According to the plea agreement filed with the court, on Sept. 3 Chesterfield used his law enforcement credentials to bypass Transportation Security Administration screening and was about to board Spirit Airlines flight 212, bound for Fort Lauderdale when he was approached by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. When first questioned by CBP, Chesterfield claimed possession of a small black carry-on bag but later denied ownership after a K-9 alerted to the presence of narcotics inside the bag.
At secondary screening, CBP officers inspected the carry-on and discovered 18 plastic-wrapped packages, the contents of which tested positive for 21.44 kilograms of cocaine. Customs officers also discovered $26,025 in U.S. currency inside of a small computer bag in Chesterfield’s possession.
Chesterfield faces a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years and not more than life in prison, and a fine of as much as $10 million. He was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service pending sentencing.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Delia Smith.