A former officer of the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs and two other men all pleaded guilty in three separate cases in St. Thomas District Court recently, according to U.S. Attorney Gretchen Shappert.
Robert Defreitas, formerly a sworn law enforcement officer with the DLCA, was sentenced to 41 months in prison for Travel Act bribery and solicitation of a bribe by a public employee. Defreitas was convicted following a jury trial in December.
According to the evidence presented at trial, in August 2018 Defreitas assisted with a DLCA inspection of a St. Thomas business, during which time he discovered that one of the company’s workers had not entered the country by legal means. Defreitas attempted to use this information against the victim. The victim later recorded a phone call in which Defreitas sought sexual favors in return for not reporting the victim’s immigration status, and this recording was played for the jury during the trial.
This case was investigated by the Virgin Islands Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Brooks.
Deshawn Gonsalves, 26, of St. Croix, pleaded guilty on Oct. 14 in district court to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, United States Attorney Shappert announced.
According to court documents, on Oct. 31, 2018, officers with the Virgin Islands Police Department responded to an apparent domestic dispute and 911 call at the Lorraine Village Apartments outside of Frederiksted. Gonsalves admitted to the officers that he possessed a firearm and ammunition in his vehicle. A search of the vehicle revealed a loaded Glock .45 caliber handgun, two additional magazines, 77 rounds of .45 caliber ammunition and approximately 98 grams of marijuana packaged in plastic baggies and vials.
Gonsalves was previously convicted in superior court in 2014 of unauthorized possession of a firearm.
Gonsalves faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. Sentencing is set for Feb. 12.
The case was investigated by the Virgin Islands Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Huston.
MIGUEL BATISTA JR.
Miguel Batista Jr. pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) with intent to distribute. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 4.
According to court records, on Oct. 12, 2019, Batista was selected for inspection by Customs and Border Protection agents during routine screening at the Cyril E. King International Airport. During the inspection, agents found a vacuum-sealed package of cocaine weighing approximately 1.07 kilograms taped to Batista’s torso. The package was concealed under a compression shirt and another layer of clothing.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of the Virgin Islands.