Federal agents arrested two more St. John men last week for narcotics trafficking and possession.
Felix Olivieri, known as “Macho” was arrested on Monday, May 16, and charged with conspiracy to possess narcotics with intent to distribute and use of a communication device to facilitate a drug conspiracy.
Glenford Walters was also arrested by federal authorities on May 16 on St. John and charged with a single count of possession of narcotics with intent to distribute.
Both men were granted bail last week following detention hearings in District Court. Appearing before District Court Magistrate Judge George Cannon, Olivieri was allowed to post a $75,000 property bond, according to a report in the V.I. Daily News.
Olivieri was placed under home confinement and must wear an electronic monitoring device, according to the report.
Appearing before Cannon on Wednesday, May 18, Walters was released on an unsecured $50,000 bond and was required to reside in his parent’s Estate Grunwald home, according to a report in the V.I. Daily News.
The two men are the eighth and ninth people arrested for their parts in a drug trafficking ring between British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, according to written reports.
Five St. John residents, one St. Thomas resident and one BVI resident were arrested on Friday, May 6, in the culmination of an eleven-month-long Federal Bureau of Investigation-led operation.
On May 6, FBI agents arrested St. John residents Jerome Potter, Herbert Mason Ferguson, Sr., Herbert Mason Ferguson, Jr., Marisol Ferguson and Robert Shinners; St. Thomas resident Terrance Martin; and Earl Skelton of the BVI and charged them with running a drug operation to possess and distribute cocaine, cocaine base and marijuana.
The defendants face a total of 50 drug trafficking charges for bringing cocaine, cocaine base and marijuana into the territory and distributing the drugs among a network of dealers.
All but three of the suspects arrested on May 6 remain in detention. On Tuesday, May 10, District Court Judge Ruth Miller granted bail to Shinners, co-owner of Low Key Watersports, on a $50,000 cash or property bond. As terms of his release, Shinners handed over his transportation documents and must comply with a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew.
Also on May 10, Miller granted Marisol Ferguson bail on a $75,000 unsecured bond and appointed her sister Elizabeth Sonson as her third-party custodian. Marisol Ferguson must call in to the probation office as often as required, avoid contact with witnesses and comply with a 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew.
On Thursday, May 12, Miller granted bail to Terrence Martin of St. Thomas who works for the V.I. Water And Power Authority. He was required to post a $15,000 property and cash bond, continue living at his girlfriend Jeanette Romney’s Hidden Valley home, report to the probation office, avoid contact with all witnesses and be tested for controlled substances.
Miller denied bail on May 12 to the other four defendants citing the men as flight risks and dangers to the community.
In District Court on Wednesday, May 11, FBI special agent Michael Day testified about the details of the bureau’s nearly year-long operation on St. John. Working in conjunction with the DEA, FBI officers watched and listened in on undercover drug buys using confidential informants and recorded dozens of phone calls from wiretapped phones, according to a report on the St. John Source.
Day cited 16 different telephone calls and transactions dating from June 18, 2010 to April 26, 2011, according to the report. The FBI agent outlined a scenario with Skelton and Potter as the main suppliers of the drugs with Ferguson Sr., his son Ferguson Jr. and wife Marisol Ferguson running the distribution side of the operation and Martin as a “fill-in” supplier when Potter was not available, according to the report on the on line news site.
Shinners regularly bought cocaine from Ferguson, Sr., according to the report.
With information from the wiretaps and informants, the FBI planned a sting operation for the morning of May 6. Although the sting ran into some hitches — a fake “bale” was dropped at the wrong coordinates after the plane being used experienced engine trouble — FBI agents nabbed Potter and Skelton for attempting to pick up 300 kilograms of cocaine, according to the report.
Later that day, FBI agents executed search warrants at Ferguson, Sr.’s Estate Grunwald house and Potter’s Estate Lower Carolina house as well as Potter’s Cruz Bay nightclub Find da Spot, according to the report on the St. John Source.
The raid on Ferguson, Sr.’s house netted a one-kilogram brick of cocaine, 19 half-ounce bags of cocaine in the bathtub, 100 jewel-sized bags of marijuana in Ferguson, Jr.’s backpack and two handgun’s under the son’s bed, according to the report on the online news site.
Nothing was found in Potter’s nightclub, but in Potter’s home, agents found a magazine clip and a safe, the contents of which have not yet been examined, according to the report.
Charging documents detail the dates when the men in the ring sold drugs to Shinners, confidential informants and other people, according to a report in the V.I. Daily News.
FBI agents also charged Potter, Skelton and Olivieri with running a second drug conspiracy to transport wholesale amounts of cocaine from outside the U.S. to be distributed in the BVI, stateside and elsewhere, according to the V.I. Daily News report.
The operation was a joint federal investigation involving the United States Attorney’s Office, the FBI, DEA, U.S. Marshal Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, National Parks Service, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Border Patrol, V.I. National Guard, British Virgin Islands Police Department, Customs and Border Protection, Customs Air Marine Branch and V.I. Police Department.