STX District Court: Rivera Pleads Guilty; Melendez, Hendrickson Charged

Rivera Pleads Guilty to Carjacking, Firearm Offense
Joel G. Rivera, 33, of St. Croix, pleaded guilty Thursday in District Court to one count of using a firearm during a violent crime and one count of carjacking, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced.

The firearm offense carries a mandatory minimum of seven years imprisonment, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a term of supervised release up to five years. The carjacking offense carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a term of supervised release up to five years.

Sentencing is set for August 21.

According to court documents, in the early morning hours of Sept. 10, 2017, the defendant, along with two co-defendants, broke into the home of Stephen O’Dea and Kathryn Duncan, while brandishing a firearm. The defendants assaulted O’Dea and threatened to kill the couple while demanding money.

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The defendants forced the couple at gunpoint into the rear seat of O’Dea’s Toyota Tacoma pickup truck and drove to the location where O’Dea had left his wallet. After obtaining the wallet, the defendants fled in the pickup truck O’Dea’s Jeep Wrangler, which was located at his residence.

In addition to the vehicles, defendants stole $200 in currency, two iPhones valued at $600 each, and an iPad valued at $200.

The V.I. Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations investigated the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel H. Huston.

Melendez Charged with Possessing Pistol Near School
Samuel Melendez, 43, of St. Croix, appeared before Magistrate Judge George W. Cannon for an initial appearance after his arrest by Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents on the charge of possession of a firearm within a school zone, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

According to court documents, on Oct 8, 2018, Melendez brandishing a firearm and cursing at customers in the H & R Supermarket in Frederiksted. Melendez was later found to be in possession of a loaded .380 caliber Jimenez Arms pistol.

This occurred within 1,000 feet of the St. Patrick’s Elementary School.

The case was investigated by the Virgin Islands Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel H. Huston.

Hendrickson Arrested on Firearm and Drug Charges
Rahem “Kimby” Hendrickson, of St. Croix, appeared before Magistrate Judge George W. Cannon for an initial appearance Wednesday after his arrest by Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents on the charges of possession of a firearm within a school zone, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

According to court documents, on Feb. 16, 2018, a search warrant was obtained for Hendrickson’s vehicle located at the Dynasty Grocery Store, aka Paul’s, in Sion Farm. The search subsequently revealed a loaded Glock .40 caliber pistol with various additional ammunition, more than a kilogram of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and $2,584 in cash.

The case was investigated by the Virgin Islands Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel H. Huston.

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