Jabari Hodge, a St. Thomas 29-year-old, pled guilty Thursday to being a felon in possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced. The plea was entered in U.S. District Court.
According to court documents, at 1:10 a.m. on Oct. 6, V.I. Police Department officers approached the defendant, who was sitting in the driver’s seat of his parked vehicle, with the driver’s side door open, in the parking lot of a shopping center in the Red Hook area. The defendant was the only person in the vehicle. Upon approaching the defendant, one of the officers noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The officer saw what appeared to be a marijuana on the floorboard near the defendant’s feet.
Another VIPD officer noticed a partially-opened bag with what appeared to be a jar containing marijuana inside. The officers informed the defendant that they were going to search the vehicle, at which point the defendant said, “Just take the weed and let me go.”
The officers proceeded to search the vehicle and located a fully loaded, silver and black 9mm Kel Tec handgun with one round in the chamber and seven rounds in the magazine.
Prior to his Oct.. 6 apprehension, the defendant had been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year and was not authorized to possess a firearm under federal law.
Hodge faces a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment, a three-year term of supervised release, and a fine of s much as $250,000. However, should the court determine that the defendant is an armed career criminal, then the defendant will be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment up to life imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the VIPD in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Juan A. Albino.