CBP Officers' Quick Reaction Results in Seizure of 35 kilos of Cocaine, 2 Arrest
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, working jointly with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), seized on Monday 35 kilograms of cocaine at the Henry E. Rohlsen International Airport in St. Croix, and arrested two individuals for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
Calieb Jared Webster, 29, and Jamhila Hodge, 23, both of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, were arrested when they presented themselves for pre-clearance inspection at the St. Croix airport before boarding an American Airlines flight to New York via Miami. Both passengers were traveling together but presented themselves for inspection separately.
During the inspection, CBP officers discovered a total of 21 brick-shaped objects containing a white powdery substance within Webster's checked luggage and carry-on bags, and 10 additional bricks in Hodge's carry-on bag for a total of 31 bricks with an approximate total weight of 35 kilograms. The contraband tested positive to cocaine during a field test.
"The CBP workforce remains continually dedicated to the mission of our agency through diligence and hard work. This morning they demonstrated our agency's core values of vigilance, integrity and service through the performance of their duties and responsibilities in an exemplary manner. We expect all our staff to serve the homeland with the same enthusiasm and pride than was shown today" stated Director of Field Operations Marcelino Borges.
"ICE HSI will continue working with our CBP, federal and local partners to identify, arrest and prosecute those involved in the illegal trafficking of narcotics," said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI in Puerto Rico and USVI. "Those who think that the U.S. Virgin Islands are an easy transshipment point to smuggle drugs into the mainland, should think it twice. ICE HSI and its partners are vigilant and those responsible will be arrested and brought to justice."
Those arrested had their initial hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge George W. Cannon on Tuesday and are scheduled for a detention hearing on Thursday, March 1 in the District Court of the Virgin Islands, Division of St. Croix. They were transferred to the Golden Grove Correctional Facility in St. Croix awaiting the outcome of their case.
The Office of Field Operations is responsible for securing our borders at the ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers' primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States
The ICE HSI investigation continues.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.