Two of the nine defendants arrested in May in a federal drug operation were sentenced in plea agreements last week in U.S. District Court.
U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez sentenced 43-year-old Marisol Ferguson of St. John to three years of supervised probation on Wednesday, October 19, for concealing knowledge of a felony, according to a report in the V.I. Daily News.
As a special condition of her release, Marisol Ferguson was ordered to complete substance abuse counseling, enroll in a GED program and pay a $100 special assessment fee, according to a prepared statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Marisol Ferguson was arrested on May 6 when a Federal Bureau of Investigation search of her St. John home found more than a pound of marijuana belonging to her son. Marisol Ferguson, a mother of five with a degenerative muscle disease, admitted to knowing that the drugs were stored in her home.
She entered a plea agreement in June and faced a maximum sentence of six months in jail, according to the report in the V.I. Daily News.
Marisol Ferguson, her son Herbert “Mason” Ferguson Jr., and her husband Herbert Ferguson were all arrested along with Jerome Potter, James Stephens, Terrance Martin, Earl Skelton, Robert Shinners and Felix Oliveri by FBI agents on May 6.
The group had been under investigation by the FBI for almost a year when agents set up a sting involving a fake drug drop just off Cruz Bay.
In total, the group was charged with 53 criminal counts including participating in a drug conspiracy, possessing cocaine, cocaine base and marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm while trafficking drugs.
“According to the indictment the defendants were involved in a drug trafficking organization that was operating a large scale, open market drug distribution of cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana on the island of St. John,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice press release.
The FBI indictment prepared by special agent Michael Day describes Herbert Ferguson and Jerome Potter as the drug trafficking ring’s leaders with Potter providing the drugs, overseeing their importation and providing the boats used to bring the narcotics into the territory.
The indictment describes Herbert Ferguson as leading the distribution activities once the drugs were on St. John, operations his son was involved with as well.
Gomez sentenced Mason Ferguson, 19, to two more weeks in federal prison and three years of supervised probation on Thursday, October 20, according to a report in the V.I. Daily News.
In addition to the 1.35 pounds of marijuana found in the Ferguson home during the May 6 raid, agents also discovered two guns beneath Mason Ferguson’s bed and 2.97 pounds of cocaine. Mason Ferguson was originally charged with several counts of possessing narcotics and conspiracy to operate a drug ring.
In a plea deal submitted in July, Mason Ferguson pleaded guilty to amended charges of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, distributing marijuana and using a communication device to facilitate the crime, according to the report in the V.I. Daily News.
He has already served five months in prison and will return to serve two more weeks before being released to three years of supervised probation at home on St. John. Mason Ferguson was also ordered to complete substance abuse counseling, enroll in a GED program and pay a $400 special assessment fee. Gomez also ordered forfeiture of the two firearms — a Davis .32 semiautomatic handgun and a H.R. Model 930 .22 revolver handgun — which were seized during the May 6 raid, according to information from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Herbert Ferguson was scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court on a plea agreement last week as well, but his case was continued to December, according to the report in the V.I. Daily News.
Martin and Shinners have also pleaded guilty to various charges in the indictment, while Potter, Skelton and Stephens remain in federal custody await trial on January 12, 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Justice press release.