U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Monday two incidents where inbound passengers to the Cyril E. King Airport and the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, have attempted to smuggle firearms, ammunition and bulletproof vests in violation to local law.
“The US Virgin Islands has its own laws regarding possession of firearms and ammunition,” Todd Bellew, Area Port Director in St. Thomas, said in a statement from the agency. “Passengers should contact the local authorities regarding what is allowed to be entered,” he added.
According to the agency, on July 11, a contraband enforcement team inspected all inbound luggage from a flight arriving to St. Croix from Miami. Inside six checked luggage bags, officers found 3 AR15 rifles and eight handguns.
The federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 and some state laws and regulations define the AR15 as an assault weapon. It has been used in numerous mass killings. The gun industry and political gun rights enthusiasts prefer to define only weapons with an ability to select fully automatic fire as assault rifles and reject the term assault weapon.
On July 6, Customs and Border Patrol officers reportedly inspected a passenger and his luggage arriving from Charlotte, North Carolina, finding a Glock 22 – .40 caliber, a Glock 27 .40 caliber, a Z-15 Multi Caliber Rifle, a Mossberg 12 GA Shotgun. Officers also found multiple rounds of ammunition for the weapons. The passenger also reportedly had two bulletproof vests, one of which was armor plated.
The Virgins Islands Police received custody of the weapons for disposition under local law.
As the United States’ first unified border entity, CBP takes a comprehensive approach to border management and control, combining customs, immigration, border security, and agricultural protection into one coordinated and supportive activity.