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HomeNewsLocal newsCorrupt Airport Officer Sentenced to 64 Months

Corrupt Airport Officer Sentenced to 64 Months

Former Virgin Islands Port Authority officer Wayne Jeffers was sentenced to 64 months in prison for a cocaine smuggling scheme. (Source photo by Diana Dias)

A former St. Croix Port Authority officer was sentenced to 64 months in federal prison — more than five years — for attempting to smuggle 12 bricks of cocaine through the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced Thursday.

Wayne Jeffers, 53, was convicted of cocaine possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute. Jeffers had pleaded guilty in February 2023, having confessed to Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents shortly after his May 11, 2022 arrest, according to court records.

Early that morning, a Customs and Border agent noticed an odd tarp folded on a ladder truck at the airport. Underneath the tarp was a black suitcase filled with 12 packages of cocaine totaling more than 12.5 kilograms, or 27.5 pounds. A quick check of security camera footage revealed that at about 1:15 a.m. a Virgin Islands Port Authority vehicle drove near the ladder truck without lights on and stopped briefly, then backed away. Jeffers was the only VIPA officer on duty at the time. He was arrested that night and told officers he’s been promised $50,000 to put the suitcase on the truck. He said he didn’t know what was in it, only that it was drugs, according to court records.

Jeffer’s co-conspirator in the scheme, Charles Rawlins III, 40, was sentenced to 48 months in prison in November. Rawlins, an airport ramp worker, removed the suitcase from the ladder truck and placed it on a baggage cart to be loaded on a Seaborne Silver aircraft destined for San Juan, prosecutors said.

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