Crime in St. Croix ...
 

Crime in St. Croix How to evaluate objectively  

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Baron
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July 15, 2014 8:50 pm  

Like many contemplating a relocation to a new (and exotic) place we are concerned about personal safety and living without fear.
I was raised in a rural home where the door was never locked, but times, even here in suburban NY have sadly changed for the worse. Our local police blotters are filled each week with an array of criminal activity. I have made a thorough scan of the internet to find information regarding St. Croix and the USVI in general. The resulting information is confusing, contradictory, reassuring, frightening, and basically provides no way to objectively assess the frequency of theft and violent crime that exists in STX. At face value, one might be afraid to travel to anywhere but gated condos and secure resorts. There are many horror stories told on the internet forums ranging from murders, armed restaurant holdups (Cane Bay), petty theft as well as testimony to police ineptness and/or disinterest as well as charges of out right corruption. Is it to be believed or is it a gross exaggeration? I fully realize that on a small island every small thing becomes magnified. However with such a small island population a brazen stickup of a restaurant is significant. I have read that where and HOW one lives will to some extent determine whether they are at risk--probably true anywhere. That makes sense however. . .
I don't want to live in a high security compound (gated community). I'd rather have a little house with a small yard to grow tomatoes and sit in the shade sipping Crusan. I don't have a collection of valuables and lead a relatively humble life. Still I am not keen on losing what few things I have. The message board is divided into two camps--the Encoragers and the Discouragers. One group says Hey man, it's laid back and slower pace here. You can't always get everything you want, but you'll get by. It's beautiful here. Life is good. Come check it out and if it;s right for you then stick around. The other tells of a dying island with a failing economy, failing tourism, boarded up businesses, terrible roads, broken infrastructure and a criminal element that goes unchecked--the bad guys lurking at secluded beaches. The truth is of course somewhere in between. I suspect that St; Croix, like many places, goes through cycles and perhaps at the present time there are more problems affot than solutions. The island looks like it holds many possibilities for Diane and Myself and we will need e to make some compromises, where ever we choose to relocate.
I welcome your thoughts on the subject.


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speee1dy
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July 15, 2014 9:15 pm  

you need to look at the per capita statistics. one year we had the most murders per capita, this year i have not even kept up. i think the fbi has stats check them out.
we each have our own personal stories about crime, some minor some not so minor and some horrific. we choose to not go to certain places at night if there is not close parking. hubby seems more worried than me. i live in town and do not worry too much. i would prefer to walk to certain events but hubby does not want to walk back at night.
there was a shooting on the street below us, and another time a shooting on a street over from us.
is one area safer than another? maybe.

restaurant robberies, happen any time day or night. hubby would prefer to not eat at night in certain areas because of this.


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noOne
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July 15, 2014 11:24 pm  

60.0 per 100,000 in 2010 with only (Worldwide) Honduras beating out the USVI by a slight 60.2
Something like 4.7 is the national rate, with the USVI having a 33% solvency rate compared to the national rate of 66%


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AandA2VI
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July 15, 2014 11:43 pm  

This thread is gonna get UGLY!!!

PLEASE just do a PMV and judge for yourself!

"One group says Hey man, it's laid back and slower pace here. You can't always get everything you want, but you'll get by. It's beautiful here. Life is good. Come check it out and if it;s right for you then stick around. The other tells of a dying island with a failing economy, failing tourism, boarded up businesses, terrible roads, broken infrastructure and a criminal element that goes unchecked--the bad guys lurking at secluded beaches"

LMAO this is all TRUE - and I am one of the Encouragers. I make friends with everyone and judge no one, in turn I feel pretty safe and often locals have my back. Almost got booted at Coki last week but one of the guys down there that I've made friends with told the cops it was his car, found me and moved the vehicle. I brought him a basket of avocados and a 6er of craft beer the next day lol. I Still can't understand his name when he tells me lol.

The juice is worth the squeeze. We call THIS home.

*** The views and opinions expressed in my posts are soley those of A&A2VI and other like minded islanders. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the majority or any/all contributors to this site. Have a GREAT DAY!


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Baron
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July 16, 2014 2:11 am  

AandA2VI
Great Photo. I agree with you. People who isolate themselves from their community remain outsiders.I try to keep a low profile and be friendly. I play music--jazz-- and if we do move to St Croix I'd like to participate in the music scene. We won't be cruising around in a shiny new 4 x 4 or live in an ostentatious manner. Without having ever been there, I'm attracted to Frederiksted as the smaller less commercial town. We'll be visiting for 2 weeks and take a good look around.


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caribstx
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July 16, 2014 12:00 pm  

I've lived on STX for many years with my family and have never felt unsafe or threatened. Sure crime happens but its no different here than many other mainland communities. I own a business and do not live in a gated community or condo. Come down and see for yourself how great STX really is.


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Baron
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July 16, 2014 1:31 pm  

Caribstx:
I imagine your experience to be the normal for everyday living on the island. I wish we had the means to rent for 6 months; two weeks is too short a time.
It will be hard to separate the "vacation" aspect of our visit from the "what's-it-like-to-live- here?" research, but we'll certainly try. Thanks for the input, everyone.


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MosquitoBaitt
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July 16, 2014 8:09 pm  

I've lived on STX for many years with my family and have never felt unsafe or threatened. Sure crime happens but its no different here than many other mainland communities. I own a business and do not live in a gated community or condo. Come down and see for yourself how great STX really is.

And you can walk thru the streets of Detroit without ever experiencing crime...But chances are sooner than later you may become a victim if the statistics show a higher rate of crime.

STX has never been the same since Hugo... just sayin'

~ It's Always Beer Thirty!


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jostvandog
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July 17, 2014 3:54 pm  

I've been here 2 1/2 years and have never need personally touched by crime although I have friends who have been held up. Like A and A said come do a visit, go to the grocery store and just look around. we live out east and are in town for many events Jazz concerts, Jump Ups etc., just use common sense and we don't stay out late. We mingle with everyone and just are polite and friendly and that goes a long way. Now please naysayers don't blast me for "not being here long enough or still in newbie mode" just my two cents. Come check it out, It aint east but if it was everyone would do it.


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vicanuck
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July 17, 2014 5:06 pm  

I wasn't living on STX before Hugo so I can't relate. But, I've lived here for 10 years and have never had an issue with crime.


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gonetropo
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July 17, 2014 8:13 pm  

We have lived in many places around the world, including the Detroit area and this is the ONLY local where we actually have known 4 people who have been shot dead and the killers have NEVER been brought to justice! 3 on STX and 1 on STT.

Not in Europe, not in Detroit, not in Brasil, not in Canada, but yes here on STX/STT..


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speee1dy
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July 18, 2014 12:20 pm  

wow, gonetropo, so sorry about that. i have met 2 that have been killed. one of them had worked with my husband on some jobs-drew. and i had met trw and he served us and we loved him.
my co worker knew two who were killed


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noOne
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July 18, 2014 9:33 pm  

I was just thinking about how many people I have know that have been killed in the islands. Perhaps the most gruesome was:

"1988 St. Thomas, Virgin Islands St. Clair Daniel was arrested tried and convicted for two human sacrifices. Daniel hacked to death Genevieve Lewis, 53, and Steve Cornish, 29, with a machete on a beach in broad daylight in front of several horrified beach goers. Family and friends told police Daniel had been a practioner of his own brand of island Voodoo and Satanism. At his trial in 1989, Daniel tried to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, but prosecution pointed out Daniel was aware of what he was doing, because he followed an ancient voodoo superstition of dismembering a ritual victim so they could not return as a zombie. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. (Rueters)"

Anyone remember this? I went to school with Ben Cornish, the cousin of Steve, and Genene Lewis, the daughter of Genevieve. I remember the cops considering St. Clair too nuts to hold at the jail, and took him to the hospital. He was too violent for the hospital to hold, and the police left, so they let St. Clair go. It was a good couple of months before they caught him again...


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OldTart
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July 19, 2014 12:21 am  

Anyone remember this?

Remember it very, very well.


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speee1dy
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July 19, 2014 9:56 am  

that is creepy-is he still in jail


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OldTart
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July 19, 2014 11:55 am  

He was sentenced to life without parole so presumably yes.


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noOne
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July 20, 2014 12:10 am  

This was a close friend of mine that died in 1990 - a story from my book:

We used to go to a bar called For the Birds (long gone) on the East End every Sunday night, because there were always tons of women that came for free admission and free well drinks. Fortunately for us, our friend Jim Jim ran the Birdshot Bar in the back, and he always gave us free drinks.

After the bar/restaurant closed one night, three masked men with AK-47s came in. They demanded that the manager open the safe, but due to the stress of the situation, she could not remember the combination. They shot her in one knee and said, "Open the safe!" Of course she couldn't, so they shot her in the other knee and said, "Open the safe!"

Well, Jim Jim was a real stand up guy, and if he thought he could do something, he would not hesitate to do it. His choice in weapons was not too good though; he picked up a broomstick and went after them. Hmm, three AK-47s vs. one broomstick... not good odds.

They shot him in the chest, killing him instantly.

No one was ever caught for this.


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noOne
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July 20, 2014 1:30 am  

Going through murders this year I found this interesting one, has anyone heard more about this?

From: Homicides 2014

Date of death – May 2

At 7:43 a.m. the 911 dispatch center received a call from a man at the Food Center Supermarket in Estate Fredenhoj saying that his his girlfriend was not breathing and requesting an escort to the hospital. The man, later identified as former VIPD Captain Enrique Saldana, was escorted to the Roy L. Schneider Hospital by a law enforcement officer. At the hospital, Saldana told officers he had been at Vessup Beach with his wife, 43 year-old Jeanette Magras-Saldana, and that while they were at the beach his wife collapsed and stopped breathing. Emergency room medical staff pronounced Magras-Saldana dead on arrival. Preliminary investigation revealed that Magras-Saldana sustained multiple bodily injuries, some of which caused severe black and blue bruising. Additionally, medical personnel said the victim appeared to have died several hours prior to her arrival at the hospital. The exact cause of death was to be determined by an autopsy.

From: Former VIPD Captain Saldana Unharmed, Despite Reports

Since his arrest on May 2, Saldana has been detained on second-degree murder, manslaughter and assault charges pending a bail hearing that will determine whether he violated his current parole conditions. Saldana was found guilty in 2011 of extortion and conspiracy and was sentenced to 41 months in jail.

While he had been released from prison, he was still on supervisory release, according to testimony provided during Saldana's recent advice of rights hearing in V.I. Magistrate Court.

Now charged with murdering his wife, Saldana could go back to jail or be subject to other conditions set by a judge, including home confinement.

Court documents indicate that Saldana called 911 dispatchers early on May 2 to report that his wife, Jeanette Magras-Saldana, was no longer breathing. According to a police affidavit, Magras-Saldana's body was badly bruised; it appeared that her windpipe was crushed and that she also had a dislocated jaw.

After bringing his wife to the hospital, Saldana was taken to the police station. There, he waived his rights and did a recorded interview with police. In his statement, Saldana recounted a series of events that ended with the couple heading to Vessup Beach for a morning swim. Coming out of the water, Saldana told police Magras-Saldana appeared to have fallen and, while helping her to the car, Saldana noticed that she appeared unable to speak, according to the affidavit written by Police Detective Jose Allen.

According to his statement, Saldana attempted to perform CPR and then went to a nearby grocery store to call for help. Police obtained a search warrant for his home, where blood was found in two rooms, the affidavit said.

From: Ex-VIPD Capt. Enrique Saldana charged with murdering his wife

Saldana and V.I. Police Sgt. George Greene Jr. were convicted in January 2010 of obstruction of justice, extortion and bribery.

Saldana and Greene - along with Louis Roldan, who was shot to death and his body set afire in his car on St. Croix in July 2010 - tried to extort money in December 2008 from Richard Motta, an associate of missing Realtor Rosemary Sauter.

The defendants were convicted of trying to extort $5,000 from Motta in a sham narcotics deal involving FBI cash.

Greene also was convicted of making a false statement and money laundering.

So he got away with murder before. I wonder how many people he is responsible for, directly or indirectly, killing


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noOne
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July 20, 2014 1:59 am  

And here is a nice one from 2012:

From: Homicide Data 2012

(26) STT

(55) Territory

Date of death: Dec. 17

William Hyde died in a Florida as the result of injuries sustained in an attack Nov. 23 on St. Thomas. According to police, five men from 16 to 17 lured Hyde, abducted him and commandeered his vehicle, took him to Magens Bay and severely beat him before leaving him to die. He was found the next morning in the women's shower at Magens Bay with no identification or any other means by which the police could determine who he was. Only after putting out a call to the community were authorities able to identify the comatose man. Due to the severity of his injuries he was transferred to a Florida hospital. He was taken off of life support approximately Dec. 10 and clung to life for a week before succumbing on Dec. 17.

From: William Hyde Dies in Florida Hospital

According to the V.I. Police Department, Hyde was assaulted Nov. 23 by five young men, ages 16 and 17, who set up Hyde using his well-known willingness to help people in need. The five were arrested by police and charged as minors. They have since been released to their parent's custody and have returned to high school.

According to police, one of the five who knew Hyde called him and said he needed a ride, knowing that Hyde was always willing to help. When Hyde arrived, the five young men commandeered his vehicle and drove him to Magens Bay, where they beat him severely and left him in the public restrooms.

Hyde was found the next morning in the women's shower at the beach park, police reports said. He had no identification, and after two days the police issued a call to the community to help identify the "John Doe" lying unconscious in the Schneider Regional Medical Center

Anyone know what happened to the kids? I can't find anything...


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Exit Zero
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July 20, 2014 2:11 am  

So after reading all these reports of crime in St Thomas how do I objectively evaluate Crime in St Croix ?


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noOne
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July 20, 2014 2:26 am  

Oh and this is fascinating, Gangster Girls at Jump Up:

From: Homicide Data 2011

(17) STX

(25) Territory

Tamirah Bruno, 16, was stabbed to death July 8 during a fight that broke out during Jump Up in Christiansted. Accordng to police a series of fights involving high school-aged girls broke out at the end of Jump Up around 10:45 p.m. The names of the two alleged perpetrators charged with murder have not been released by police because they are minors. They are in custody at St. Croix's Youth Rehabilitation Center. Several other girls were treated for wounds received during the melee.

From: 16-year-old sisters face murder charges in girl's stabbing after Jump Up in July

ST. CROIX - Two 16-year-old sisters will be tried as adults on murder and assault charges after a fatal public stabbing that left one girl dead and four others bleeding near the Christiansted Boardwalk after a Jump Up in early July.

The sisters, Natifa Williams and Adelina Adams, appeared Monday before V.I. Superior Court Judge Julio Brady to be advised of their rights. Each faced a similar set of charges - first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, first- and third-degree assault, possession of a violent weapon during a violent crime and first-degree reckless endangerment - except that Williams faces an additional count of third-degree assault for accidentally stabbing Adams during the crime, according to court records.

Superior Court Judge Patricia Steele of the Family Division signed the motion on Oct. 11 to have the sisters transferred over to be tried as adults.

The sisters initially were arrested in the immediate aftermath of the public and violent episode that played out just after a Jump Up ended on July 8. The streets still were crowded with vendors and pedestrians enjoying the night's festivities, and music from bars still filled the streets. A fight between two sets of sisters and cousins began outside the Brew Pub on the boardwalk and trailed down to one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in that area, where Queen Cross Street runs into the boardwalk. Not far from Rum Runners restaurant, violence erupted, leaving 16-year-old Tamirah Bruno dead and her sisters and cousins injured, lying on the ground amid tattered bits of blood-stained clothing.

[...]

One witness described an argument between Bruno and Adams at the Brew Pub, where both groups of girls were hanging out after the Jump Up officially ended. The witness told police that Bruno approached Adams and asked her why she kept calling her phone. Adams responded by saying, "I should slap all of you," according to Fieulleteau.

Bruno and Adams began arguing, and one of Bruno's sisters pulled Bruno away and started walking her away down the boardwalk, Fieulleteau said. One witness said they overheard Williams say, "I have my thing in my bag if they want to play."

As Bruno and the others walked away, Adams and Williams followed as Bruno turned the corner onto Queen Cross Street, the witnesses told police. There they saw Adams and Williams emerge from a walkway between the boardwalk and the street, according to Fieulleteau. Adams and Williams approached the group of girls, and Adams kept her hand behind her back, according to witness statements. A friend of the group ran to get police officers, but the argument had already escalated into a brawl by the time she returned, Fieulleteau said.

It is not uncommon for minors under the age of 18 to be in bars down there, with no repercussions for the bars. I've said it before, and I'll say it again; drinking and drugs are a MAJOR problem down there. The saying goes, "If you can put your money on the bar, you are old enough to drink!"

Amazingly they were actually sentenced to a decent amount of adult time:

From: Teen girls get 16 years for Jump Up slaying


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noOne
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July 20, 2014 2:27 am  

So after reading all these reports of crime in St Thomas how do I objectively evaluate Crime in St Croix ?

Three from STT and two from STX, it is a fair look at the islands.

Hey Rotor, wanna chime in with your near-death experience on STX with three armed intruders that held you and your wife for hours? Oh wait, nm, i got it:

From: Early morning home invasion turns deadly as 2 suspects killed, officer and police K-9 shot Edwin Carmona, 30, and Franklyn Johnson Jr., 20, killed; boy in custody

ST. CROIX - Violence erupted in the usually quiet neighborhood of Beeston Hill and Havensight early Friday morning that left a V.I. Police officer and a K-9 officer wounded, two burglary suspects dead and a third suspect wounded.

Six police officers - and a K-9 officer - have been shot in the territory in the last six months.

[...]

The house is nestled in the hillside of an affluent neighborhood and is surrounded by lush greenery and wooded areas on three sides. A wrought-iron gate gives the appearance of security, but the gunmen were able to breach the gate minutes before tragedy struck.


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noOne
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July 20, 2014 3:50 am  

If any of you are really interested, you can read the articles (plural) that The Daily News won a Pulitzer for:

The 1995 Pulitzer Prize Winners - Public Service

For a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper through the use of its journalistic resources, which may include editorials, cartoons, and photographs, as well as reporting, a gold medal.

Awarded to The Virgin Islands Daily News, St. Thomas, for its disclosure of the links between the region's rampant crime rate and corruption in the local criminal justice system. The reporting, largely the work of Melvin Claxton, initiated political reforms.

Hmm what article to pick to quote? So many...

Oh! Here we go, an officer assassinated by other officers who were never caught:

An Officer Assassinated - Slaying Blemishes V.I. Law Enforcement

It was nearing midnight on Saturday, March 26, and traffic cop Steven Hodge was just getting home from work after an uneventful shift. He had plans to go fishing in his boat in the morning. But something else was uppermost in his mind.

Just two days earlier, he'd made an appointment with a top prosecutor in the Attorney General's Office to talk about what was troubling him. He'd emphasized to the prosecutor that he needed to talk to a person with highest authority --"the engine, not the engineers," the prosecutor recalls Hodge saying.

Their meeting was to be on Tuesday.

Two weeks before setting up the meeting, Hodge confided to a fellow officer that he had witnessed "something" near Water Island that left him so shook up he nearly ran his boat aground. The officer, who has been interviewed by the FBI, says Hodge promised to give her more details later.

He never got the chance.

That Saturday night in late March, Hodge quietly let himself into the Lindbergh Bay home he shared with his parents, careful as always to avoid disturbing anyone. In his room, he found his mother listening to the radio; she'd come in there because his father was asleep and she didn't want the noise to wake him.

They chatted awhile, about nothing in particular, then she went to her room. As Hodge began to undress, he turned the television to his favorite channel -- Court TV.

Hodge, 26, followed his nightly routine. He put his uniform and socks in a nearby hamper, his shoes at the foot of his bed and his service revolver on the dresser. It was the last time he would touch his gun.

He pulled on a pair of shorts that he used as pajamas and settled into his bed. Just then he heard someone in the front yard call his name.

Not his real name, but "Scooby," a nickname friends on the force gave him because his big, friendly grin reminded them of the cartoon character Scooby Doo.

Hodge, shoeless and dressed only in his shorts, opened the front door and stepped outside. Eight long strides took him through the gate and into the street.

In the darkness assassins waited. The 6-foot-5 cop walked straight into a hail of gunfire.

He was hit 21 times. One bullet, from a shotgun fired at close range, left a two-inch hole below his armpit. He died instantly.

His assailants -- investigators believe there were three or four --used at least three types of weapons. Police found shell casings for a .380 automatic, a 9 mm pistol and a shotgun.

At first, investigators assumed the murder was an act of revenge by criminals with a grudge against him. Soon, though, the finger of guilt pointed toward the Police Department itself.

"My gut feeling is that cops were involved," says Police Commissioner Anthon Christian.

That possibility led Gov. Alexander A. Farrelly to ask the FBI to take over the investigation.

FBI agents have been on the case since April. As always, their policy is to say nothing publicly about what they are doing. Except for one officer assigned as a liaison between the Police Department and the FBI, no local officers are privy to information about the investigation.

Privately, investigators confirm that the FBI has uncovered a possible motive: Hodge was killed to keep him from talking about the April 23, 1993, theft of more than 20 pounds of cocaine from the crime lab, which was then under the Attorney General's Office.

The FBI, which was also investigating the cocaine disappearance, recently announced it did not have enough evidence to make an arrest in that case and thus was dropping that investigation. The U.S. Attorney's Office then announced it would not prosecute.

But in dropping the case, the U.S. attorney did not follow usual procedures.

"When the U.S. Attorney's Office decides not to prosecute, they usually turn over their case file," says a V.I. assistant Attorney General. "This time they simply sent a two-paragraph letter saying they weren't going to prosecute."

The case file would contain the investigation findings, including leads and names of informants and suspects.

Now, the search for clues in the Hodge murder has hit a major snag. Investigators can't find Hodge's notes.

The people closest to Hodge, personally and professionally, say he was a meticulous note keeper. He jotted down everything -- dates, facts, appointments, observations, ideas -- yet those notes have vanished. Investigators say they have searched long and hard but have turned up nothing.

They believe it is likely that the missing notes hold the answer to why the six-year police veteran was assassinated -- and to who did it.


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STXjill
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July 20, 2014 4:11 am  

You ok, NoOne?


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noOne
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July 20, 2014 4:20 am  

Ok how 'bout something more personal from the Pulitzer web site:

Heat On the Street - Virgin Islands a Gun-Traffickers' Paradise

The gun that killed Aviles was one of 49 weapons that police say Christopher Monbelly and Nigel Crosby smuggled into the territory between August and October last year. The two have just been convicted of illegally bringing the weapons to St. Croix from Miami.

They had the guns in their suitcases.

Police have recovered 11 of the weapons, 10 from the scenes of crimes.

The case highlights the ease with which anyone can bring illegal weapons into the territory, law enforcement officials say.

The open border between the Virgin Islands and the U.S. mainland makes transporting guns to the territory as hassle-free as carrying in a bottle of suntan lotion.

If gunrunners are actually arrested, mishandled prosecutions and lenient sentences effectively undermine the territory's gun laws.

And that helps keep the Virgin Islands armed and dangerous. Consider:

* At least 14,000 illegal guns are in the territory, many in the hands of people the police consider dangerous.

* Since 1991, police have recovered 620 weapons from crime scenes in the Virgin Islands. But in hundreds of cases each year the weapons are never recovered.

* Guns were used in 79 percent of the 33 murders this year.

* Guns were used in 28 of the 36 violent deaths, including suicides.

* Police say reports of gunfire are so numerous they don't even bother to count them and very few are checked out.

* Gun dealing is so loosely regulated that one dealer, fully licensed, sells guns out of the trunk of his car. Another had his license revoked just this year, although he has been in prison in Atlanta for drug possession.

* Violations by legal gun dealers are commonplace. Of the 53 Virgin Islands residents who had firearms dealer licenses at the beginning of the year, 47 were cited for long-standing violations of federal or local laws. Some dealers were in violation for more than five years, but nobody checked on them.

* Police officers get caught up in the brisk gun trade. Law enforcement officials say they are investigating two police officers suspected of selling guns while on duty in the police station.

* A V.I. Police Department recruit was among those arrested in a recent gun raid on St. Croix. He was charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm.

* The ready availability of guns turns simple disagreements into deadly encounters. In the last five years, 34 percent of all homicides in the territory resulted from arguments that got out of hand.

I have one close friend that I know brought 38 handguns from Texas in a suitcase. I personally have brought a gun with 1400 rounds of ammo in a suitcase to the USVI from Connecticut, and the Ruger Mini-14 rifle I brought is now in the hands of another friend of mine on STT, that he bought from the cop who confiscated it from me. Here is the story from my book:

I went to Springfield, Massachusetts, my birthplace, for a vacation and to visit my family and friends, one summer. I decided that I needed to buy some sort of assault rifle, as my pistols were fairly weak.

My friend Bob and I head down to Enfield, Connecticut, and stop in at a local gun shop. I decide to test the waters and see if I can buy something simple, like ammo for my pistols.

With my Charter Arms Undercover five shot in mind, I ask the clerk, "What do you think would be best to kill someone from two feet away with a snub-nose .38 special?" He doesn't miss a beat, reaches over and picks out Winchester aluminum jacket 110-grain hollow-point bullets.

If you don't know, these bullets shatter on impact. I say, "OK, I'll take them" and he says, "Lets see some ID." I hand him my V.I. Plastics fake ID, he checks his register to see if he can sell to a Virgin Islander, and then sells me a box of 50 along with 150 full metal jacket bullets.

Next day I come back, I look over the array of expensive ($700+) AR-15s, AK-47s, etc. and ask the clerk, "Do you have any rifles that are cheaper?" First he comes out with an old Japanese bolt-action rifle and I tell him, "I am looking for something that is semi-automatic."

He goes to the back room and comes back with a stainless steel Ruger Mini-14 (NATO 5.56mm/.223in) rifle. I ask, "How much?" and he says, "$330." With a grin on my face, I say, "Perfect, I'll take it!" to the great shock of my friend Bob. I pick out 1000 rounds of re-loaded ammo, 200 rounds of premium ammo, a 30 shot magazine, a gun cleaning kit, a new pistol butt and a holster for my .38

Then I make a mistake. I go next door to a liquor store and try to buy two quarts of Budweiser. They call the police on me because of my fake ID. They even bring out a German Shepard to watch me while the police are in route. I end up paying a $100 fine and they let me go, fortunately not knowing anything about the gun and 1400 rounds of ammo I have.

Beat that - I can buy a deadly weapon and enough ammo to kill a small army, but I will be damned if I try to buy alcohol!

I somehow managed to convince Bob to sell his blue Firebird Formula and come on a vacation with me to St. Thomas. I break up the Mini-14 and pack it in my very large suitcase, along with everything else I bought. We head to the airport, and I check the bag through to St. Thomas.

We arrive in St. Thomas, I look around to see if any one is watching the conveyor belt and people waiting for bags. Everything seems to be normal, so I pick the bag up and we walk strait out of the old WW2 airplane hanger that was the terminal.

Mission accomplished, I have my gun!

When I get home my father asks to speak to me. Turns out he found my .38 that was in my nightstand. He tells me, "You need to get rid of it." I ask, "Why?" and he says, "It’s a dangerous weapon and I don't want it in my house." This is from someone who owns two pistols and the High Standard Model 10 series B Police Shotgun - a 26" long semi-automatic bullpup 12-gauge.

I tell him, "Hold on." I go to my room to get my Mini-14, pop the large magazine in, walk out to the living room, cock it, display it to my father and I say; "Now, this is a dangerous weapon!" My Dad has a minor heart attack, grasping his chest and huffing away. He tells me, "Get rid of it!" so I take the Mini-14 to Chachi’s house, and the .38 to Richi's house.

Unfortunately I was caught with both of the guns. Fortunately, the cop who catches me "works" for my father and Dad paid him off with some cocaine. The cop even comments, "I've been looking for this .38, it used to be mine!"

I think I can claim I have taken enough explosives aboard a plane to blow it up…


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