There was no sleeping late in the John’s Folly neighborhood on Monday, July 30, when residents in the area were drawn out of bed at 5:30 a.m. by a large black helicopter hovering overhead.
While several residents in the neighborhood reported the chopper had Drug Enforcement Administration written on it, DEA officials in Miami and Puerto Rico denied any operations in St. John.
Instead of illegal drugs, the federal agents were apparently looking for illegal immigrants. The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined comment.
“We’re not prepared to make any comment on that at this time,” said Hillary Hodge, ICE’s resident agent in charge for the USVI.
In addition to the air detachment, ICE had a unit on land as well.
An Estate Concordia vacation rental villa was booked last week for two guests, but the home owner — who lives in a cottage on the property — told Tradewinds she became suspicious when she saw six men in the house.
On the morning when the helicopter was spotted, the six men in the villa were communicating on walkie-talkies before they jumped into a rental SUV and drove down to the beach at John’s Folly, according to the home owner.
There were unconfirmed reports members of a family in one home were detained and questioned.
With that, the villa owner’s partner ran to the rental unit and asked what was going on. He wasn’t prepared for what he saw.
“There was equipment everywhere,” said the home owner. “It was like Mission Impossible.”
Instead of staying the full week, the six men packed up and checked out of the villa later on July 30.